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FUND     GIVEN     IN      1891      BY 


Cornell  University  Library 
E241.K5   D76 
King's  Mountain  3"^  j|s  [je[-°es 

3   1924   032   752   846 


Date  Due 

Cornell  University 

The  original  of  this  book  is  in 
the  Cornell  University  Library. 

There  are  no  known  copyright  restrictions  in 
the  United  States  on  the  use  of  the  text. 








Battle  of  King's  Mountain, 

OCTOBER  7TH,   1780, 





Secreiary    of  the   State  Historical  Society  of  Wisconsin,  and  vtctnber  of  various   Historical 
and  Antiquaria7i  Societies  of  the  Country, 










BY    PETER    G.    THOMSON. 


WITH  the  siege  and  fall  of  Charleston,  early  in  1780,  the  rude 
shocks  of  war  were  transferred  from  the  Northern  and  Middle 
States  to  the  Carolinas  and  Georgia.  Gates,  the  victor  of  Saratoga, 
was  sent  to  command  the  Southern  army  ;  but  his  lucky  star  failed  him, 
and  he  was  disastrously  routed  near  Camden,  and  the  gallant  Sumter 
shortly  after  surprised  at  Fishing  Creek.  Gloom  and  dismay  overspread 
the  whole  Southern  country.  Detachments  from  the  victorious  British 
army  were  scattered  throughout  the  settlements;  and  the  rebellious 
Colonies  of  the  Carolinas  and  Georgia  were  reported  to  the  Home 
Government  as  completely  humiliated  and  subdued.  Ferguson,  one  of 
the  ablest  of  the  Royal  commanders,  was  operating  on  the  western 
borders  of  the  Carolinas,  enticing  the  younger  men  to  his  standard, 
and  drilling  them  for  the  Royal  service. 

At  this  gloomy  period,  when  the  cause  of  Liberty  seemed  prostrate 
and  hopeless  in  the  South,  the  Whig  border  leaders,  Campbell,  Shelby, 
Sevier,  Cleveland,  Lacey,  Williams,  McDowell,  Winston,  Hambright, 
Hawthorn,  Brandon,  Chronicle,  Hammond,  and  their  compeers,  mar- 
shalled their  clans,  united  their  forces,  overwhelming  Ferguson  and  his 
motley  followers,  crushing  out  all  Tory  opposition,  and  making  the 
name  of  King's  Mountain  famous  in  our  country's  history.  This 
remarkable  and  fortunate  battle  deserves  a  full  and  faithful  record. 
The  story  of  its  heroes  has  in  it  much  to  remind  us  of  an  epic  or  a 
romance.  They  were  a  remarkable  race  of  men,  and  played  no  incon- 
siderable a  part  in  the  long  and  sanguinary  struggle  for  American 
Independence.  Reared  on  the  outskirts  of  civilization,  they  were  early 
inured  to  privations  and  hardships,  and  when  they  went  upon  the  "  war- 
path," they  often  obtained  their  commissaries'  supplies  from  the  wild 

i  V  JNTR  on  UCTION. 

woods  and  mountain  streams  of  the  region  wliere  they  carried  on  tlieir 
successful  operations. 

As  early  as  1839,  '^^  collection  of  materials  was  commenced  for 
this  work.  Three  of  the  lingering  survivors  of  King's  Mountain  were 
visited  by  the  writer  of  this  volume,  and  their  varied  recollections  noted 
down — James  Sevier,  of  Tennessee,  John  Spelts  and  Silas  McBee,  of 
Mississippi;  and  Benjamin  Sharp,  of  Missouri,  and  William  Snodgrass, 
of  Tennessee,  were  reached  by  correspondence. 

The  gathering  at  King's  Mountain  in  1815,  to  collect  and  re-inter 
the  scattered  remains  of  those  who  fell  in  the  conflict  was  limited  in 
attendance.  In  1855,  the  seventy-fifth  anniversary  was  appropriately 
celebrated,  with  Gen.  John  S.  Preston,  and  Hon.  George  Bancroft  as  the 
speakers.  But  it  remained  for  October  seventh,  1880,  to  eclipse  the 
others,  in  a  Centennial  celebration,  when  thousands  of  people  assembled, 
making  a  memorable  civic  and  military  display,  with  an  address  by  Hon. 
John  W.  Daniel,  and  poems  by  Paul  H.  Hayne  and  Mrs.  Clara  Dargan 
McLean.  Then  followed  the  unvailing  of  a  massive  granite  monument 
having  a  base  of  eighteen  feet  square,  and  altogether  a  height  of  twenty- 
eight  feet.  It  slopes  from  the  upper  die  to  the  top,  which  is  about  two 
and  half  feet  square,  capable  of  further  addition,  or  to  be  crowned  with 
a  suitable  statue.  Inscriptions  are  cut  on  marble  slabs,  imbedded  two 
inches  in  the  granite  masonry. 

This  worthy  King's  Mountain  Centennial  very  naturally  excited 
much  interest  in  the  minds  of  the  public  regarding  the  battle  itself,  and 
its  heroic  actors,  and  prompted  the  writer  to  set  about  the  preparation- 
of  his  long-promised  work.  Beside  the  materials  collected  in  former 
years — in  ante  bellum  days — more  than  a  thousand  letters  were  written, 
seeking  documents,  traditions,  description  of  historic  localities,  and  the 
elucidation  of  obscure  statements.  Old  newspaper  files  of  the  Library 
of  Congress,  Philadelphia  Library  Company,  and  of  the  Maryland  and 
the  Wisconsin  Historical  Societies,  have  been  carefully  consulted,  and 
information  sought  from  every  possible  source  in  this  country,  England 
and  the  British  Colonies.  Truth  alone  has  been  the  writer's  aim,  and 
conclusions  reached  without  prejudice,  fear  or  favor. 

The  following  deceased  persons,  who  were  either  related  to,  or  had 
personal  intercourse  with.  King's  Mountain  men,  kindly  contributed  in 
years  agone,  valuable  materials  for  this  work : 



Ex-Gov.  David  Campbell,  of  Virginia;  Hon.  Hugh  L.  White,  Col.  Wm.  Martin,  Ex. 
Gov.  Wm.  B.  Campbell,  Col.  George  Wilson,  Col.  George  Christian,  Maj.  John  Sevier,  Jr., 
Col.  Geo.  W.  Sevier,  and  Mrs.  Eliza  W.  Warfield,  of  Tennessee;  Hon.  Jos.  J.  Mc- 
Dowell, of  Ohio  ;  Maj.  Thos.  H.  Shelby,  of  Kentucky  ;  Hon.  Elijah  Callaway,  Dr.  James 
Callaway,  Hugh  M.  Stokes,  Shadrack  Franklin,  Silas  McDowell,  Adam  and  James  J. 
Hampton,  of  North  Carolina;  Hon.  Wm.  C.  Preston,  Gen.  John  S.  Preston,  Dr.  M.  A. 
Moore,  D.  G.  Stinson,  Jeremiah  Cleveland,  Mrs.  Sallie  Rector,  Dr.  A.  L.  Hammond,  and 
Abraham  Hardin,  of  South  Carolina;  Gen.  Ben,  Cleveland,  of"  Georgia;  and  Dr.  Alex- 
ander Q.  Bradley,  of  Alabama. 

Special  acknowledgements  are  due  to  the  following  persons. 

Tennessee: — Dr.  J.  G.  M.  Ramsey,  Rev.  Dr.  D.  C.  Kelley,  Hon.  J.  M.  Lea,  Anson 
Nelson,  Hon.  W.  B.  Carter,  Col.  H.  L.  Claiborne,  Mrs.  Mary  A.  Trigg,  John  F.  Watkins 
Thos.  A.  Rogers,  and  Col.  H.  A.  Brown. 

Virginia: — R.  A.  Brock,  Hon.  A,  S.  Fulton,  W.  G.  G.  Lowry,  John  L.  Cochran,  and 
Col.  T.  L.  Preston. 

North  Carolina:— T>t.  C.  L.  Hunter,  Col.  J.  R.  Logan,  W.  L.  Twitty,  Dr.  R.  F 
Hackett,  Col.  Wm.  Johnston,  Hon.  W.  P.  Bynum,  Dr.  W.  J.  T.  Miller,  Mrs.  Mary  A. 
Chambers,  Hon.  S.  McDowell  Tate,  Col.  W.  W.  Lenoir,  Mrs  R.  M.  Pearson,  W.  M. 
Rcinhardt,  Hon.  J.  C.  Harper,  Hon.  C.  A.  Cilly,  Miss  A.  E.  Henderson,  Dr.  G.  W. 
Michal.  Wm.  A.  McCall,  Rev.  W.  S.  Fontaine,  W.  S.  Pearson,  T.  A.  Bouchelle,  John 
Banner,  J.  L.  Worth,  Dr.  T.  B.  Twitty.  M.  O.  Dickerson,  A.  D.  K.  Wallace,  John  Gilkey, 
A.  B.  Long,  Dr.  J.  H.  Gilkey,  Hon.  J.  M.  Cloud,  Rev.  W.  S.  Bynum,  J.  C.  Whitson.  Geo. 
F.  Davidson.  Mrs.  R.  C.  Whitson.  Miss  N.  M.  McDowell.  Miss  A.  M.  Woodfin.  James  E. 
Reynolds,  Lewis  Johnson.  G  W.  Crawford.  W.  H.  Allis,  Thos.  D.  Vance.  Dr.  J.  C.  New- 
land,  W.  M.  McDowell,  Rev.  E.  F.  Rockwell,  D.  Burgin.  A.  Burgin,  Wylie  Franklin, 
James  Gwyn, Jesse  Yates,  Dr  L.  Harrill.  John  H.  Roberts,  Mrs.  M.  V.  Adams,  Mrs.  P. 
E.  Callaway,  Dr.  B.  F.  Dixon,  and  Mrs.  M.  M.  Thruston. 

South  Carolina: — Rev.  James  H.  Saye.  Ex-Gov.  B.  F.  Perry.  Hon.  Simpson  Bobo, 
N.  F.  Walker,  A.  H.  Twichell,  Mrs.  Edward  Roach,  Gen.  A.  C.  Garlington,  D.  K.  Craw- 
ford, Hon.  John  B.  Cleveland,  Elijah  Keese,  James  Seaborn,  and  J.  T.  Pool. 

Georgia:— Jir.  J.  H.  Logan,  Gen.  W.  S.  Wofford,  W.  T.  Hackett,  and  A.  N.  Simpson. 

Alabama  : — Rev.  Z.  H.  Gordon,  Col.  J.  H.  Witherspoon,  and  Mrs.  Lewis  E.  Parsons. 

Mississippi:—}.  R.  Hill. 

Arkansas  : — Gen.  D.  H    Hill. 

Missouri : — Dr.  A.  N.  Kincannon. 

Kentucky  :—Is3l?lc  Shelby,  Jr.,  and  Col.  H.  H.  McDowell. 

Illinois  : — Sprague  White. 

Ohio: — Mrs.  Jennie  McDowell  Stockton. 

Wisconsin  : — Hon.  John  A.  Bentley. 

Pennsylvania  : — G.  R.  Hildeburn. 

New  York  :—Gm.  J.  Watts  DePeyster,  and  Geo.  H.  Moore,  LL.  D. 

Maryland: — Miss  Josephine  Seaton. 

Washington  :— Col.  J.  H.  Wheeler,  and  Hon.  D.  R.  Goodloe. 

:Englana  .-—Viscount  Holmesdale,  Col.  Geo.  A.  Ferguson,  and  Alfred  Kingston. 

New  Brunswick  .'—J.  De  Lancey  Robinson. 

Nova  Scotia  .-—George  Taylor. 

Ontario  .-—Rev.  Dr.  E.  Ryerson. 

vi  INTR  on  UCTION. 

While  in  the  long  years  past  the  materials  for  this  work  have  been 
collected,  ample  facts  and  documents  have  also  been  gathered  for  a 
continuation  of  similar  volumes,  of  which  this  is  the  commencement — to 
be  called,  perhaps,  the  Border  Series,  embracing,  in  their  sweep,  the 
whole  frontier  from  New  York  and  Canada  to  the  gulf  of  Mexico — 
Sumter  and  his  Men — Pickens  and  the  Battle  of  Cowpeus — Life  and 
Campaigns  of  Gen.  George  Rogers  Clark — Boone  and  the  Pioneers 
of  Kentucky — Kenton  and  his  Adventures — Brady  and  his  Scouts — 
Mecklenburg  and  its  Actors —  Tectimseh,  the  Shawanoe  Leader — Brant, 
the  Mohawk  Chief— -m^A.  a  volume  on  Border  Forays  and  Adventures. 
If  there  is  a  demand  for  these  works,  they  will  be  forthcoming. 

Should  King's  Mountain  and  its  Heroes  be  received  with  favor,  and 
regarded  as  shedding  new  light  on  an  interesting  portion  of  our  revolu- 
tionary history,  not  a  little  of  the  credit  is  deservedly  due  to  the 
enterprising  publisher,  Peter  G.  Thomson,  who  warmly  encouraged 
the  undertaking,  and  has  spared  no  pains  in  bringing  it  before  the 
public  in  a  style  at  once  tasteful  and  attractive. 

Madison,  Wis.,  September  i,  1881. 



176S  to  May,  1780. 

Causes  of  the  Revolution. — Alternate  Successes  and  Disasters  of  the 
Early  Campaign  of  the  War. —Siege  and  Reduction  of  Charleston. 


May,  1780. 

Further  Incidents  Connected  with  the  Siege. —  Tyranny  of  the  British 
Leaders. — Subjugation  of  South  Carolina^ 


1741  to  May,  1780. 

Early  Life  of  Patrick  Ferguson. — Brandywine  Battle — Refrains  from 
Shooting  Washington. —  Wounded. —  Conducts  Little  Egg  Harbor 
Expedition. — Nearly  Killed  by  an  Accidental  Attack  by  his  own 
Friends. — Biggon  Bridge  and  Monk's  Corner  Affair. — Resents  In- 
sults to  Ladies. — Siege  of  Charleston. 


1780— May— July. 

Colonel  Ferguson  sent  to  the  District  of  Ninety  Six. —  Organizing  the 
Local  Militia. — Major  Hanger' s  Accotmt  of  the  up-country  Inhabi- 
tants— his  own  bad  reputation. — Ferguson' s  seductive  promises  to  the 
people. —  The  Tory,  David  Fanning. — Ferguson' s  adaptation  to  his 
Mission — Mrs.  fane  Thomas'  Adventure. —  Colonel  Thomas  repels 



a  Tory  assault  at  Cedar  Spring. — Fergicson  advances  to  Fair  For- 
est.—Character  of  the  Tories—Stories  of  their  phmderings.— Col- 
onels Clarke  and  Jones  of  Georgia— the  latter  surprises  a  Tory 
Camp  —Dnnlap  and  Mills  attack  McDowell's  Camp  on  North 
Pacolet. —  Captain  Hampton  s  pursuit  and  defeat  of  the   Tories. 


1780— July— August. 

McDowell  sends  for  the  Over-Mountain  Men. —  Clarke  joins  him,  and 
pushes  on  to  Sumter's  Camp. —  Capttire  and  Escape  of  Captain 
Patrick  Moore. — Moore's  Plunderers. — Story  of  Jane  Mcjunkin 
and  Bill  Haynesworth. — Shelby  and  the  Mountaineers  arrive  at 
McDowell's  Camp. —  Capture  of  Thicketty  Fort. — Expedition  to 
Brown's  Creek  and  Fair  Forest. — Fight  at  the  Peach  Orchard,  near 
Cedar  Spring,  and  Wofford's  Iron  Works,  and  its  Incidents. — 
Saye's  Account  of  the  Action. — British  Report. —  Contradictory 
Statements  concerniitg  the  Conflict. 


1780— August  IS. 

Mitsgrove's  Mill  Expedition  and  Battle. — Rencontre  of  the  Patrol  Par- 
ties.— British  Alarm. — Information  of  the  Enemy's  Reinforcement. 

—  Whigs  throw  up  Breast-works. — Captain  Inmari s  Stratagem. — 
Enemy  drawn  itito  the  Net  prepared  for  them. — Desperate  Fight- 
ing.— Bines  and  other  British  Leaders  Wounded. —  Tory  Colonel 
Clary's  Escape. — Captain  Inman  Killed. —  The  Retreat  and  the 
Rout. — Incidents  at  the  Ford. — Sam  Moore's  Adventttre. —  The  Brit- 
ish and  Tory  Reserve. — A  British  Patrol  Returns  too  late  to  share 
in  the  Battle. — Burial  of  the  Slain. — Length  and  Severity  of  the 
Action. — Respective  Losses. — News  of  Gates'  Defeat — its  Influence. 

—  Whigs'  Retreat. — Anecdote  of  Paul  Hinso7i. —  The  Prisoners. — 
Williams'  Reward. —  Cornwallis'  Confession. —  Comparison  of  Au- 


1780— Summer  and  Autumn. 

Incidents  of  the  Up-coimtry — Major  Edward  Musgrove. — Paddy   Carr 
and  Beaks   Musgrove. —  The  Story   of  Mary   Musgrove. — Samuel 


Clowney's  adventure. —  William  Kennedys  Forays  Against  the 
Tories. —  Joseph  Hughes'  Escape. —  William  Sharp  Bagging  a 
British  and  Tory  Party. —  Tories'  Attack  on  Woods,  and  how  dearly 
he  sold  his  life. — Plundering  Sam  Brown. 


August,  1780— March,  1781. 

Cornwallis"  Hanging  Propeitsities. — Sumter  a  thorn  in  his  Lordship's 
side. —  Dispersion  of  Whig  Bands. — F'erguson' s  Success  in  Training 
the  Loyal  Militia. — Action  of  the  Alarmed  Tory  Leaders. — Ferguson 
Moves  into  Try  on  County. —  Colo7iel  Graham  Repels  a  Party  of  Plun- 
derers.— Ruse  for  Savijig  Whig  Stock. — Mrs.  Lytle  and  her  Beatier 
Hat. — Engagemettt  on  Cane  Creek,  aud  Major  Dunlap  wounded. — 
Apprehension  of  Jonathan  Hampton. — Dunlap' s  Insolence. — Sketch 
of  Dunlap' s  Career  and  Death. 


July— October,  1780. 

Gathering  of  the  King's  Mountain  Clans. —  Williams'  failure  to  get  coiJi- 
jnand  of  Sumter's  men — his  tricky  treatment  of  Sumter. — Fergu- 
son sends  a  threat  to  the  Over-Mountain  Men. — Shelby  s  patriotic 
efforts  to  titrn  the  scales  on  Ferguson. — Sevier,  McDowell,  Hamp- 
ton and  Campbell  unite  in  the  Enterptise — Cleveland  invited  to 
join  them . — Sevier's  success  inproz  iding  Supplies  for  the  Expedition. 
— Rendezvous  at  the  Sycamore  Shoals. — Prcparaticns  for  the  March. 
— Parson  Doak  commends  the  men  to  the  protection  of  the  Good 
Father. —  Their  March  over  the  ?no7intains. —  Joined  by  Cleveland 
and  Winston. —  Campbell  chosen  to  the  Chief  Command. — Mc- 
Dowell's mission  for  a  General  Officer. 


September— October,  1780. 

Further  gathering  of  the  King's  Mountain  Men.— Williams'  North 
Carolina  Recruits. — Movements  of  Stmiter's  Force  under  Hill  and 
Lacey.— Troubles    with    Williams.— March    to   Flint    Hill.— The 


Mountaineers  at  their  South  Mottntain  Camp. — Patriotic  Appeals 
of  the  Officers  to  their  Men. — Resume  of  Ferguson  s  Operations  in 
the  Upper  Catawba  Valley. — Alarming  hitelligence  of  the  Ap- 
proxch  of  the  Back  Water  Men. —  Why  Ferguson  Tarried  so  long 
on  the  Frontiers. — British  Schejne  of  Suppressing  the  Rebellion  by 
the  Gallows. — Ferguson  Flees  from  Gilbert  Town. — Sends  Messen- 
gers for  aid  to  Cornwallis  and  Cruger. — Frenzied  Appeal  to  the 
Tories.  —  Ferguson's  Breakfast  Stolen  by  Saucy  Whigs.  —  His 
Flight  to  Tate's  Ferry. — Dispatch  to  Lord  Cornwallis. —  Takes 
Post  on  King's  Mountain,  and  Description  of  it. — A^otives  for  Ling- 
ering there. 


October,  1780. 

Uncertainty  of  Ferguson's  Route  of  Retreat. — A  small  party  of  Georgians 
join  the  Mountain  Men. —  Whig  forces  over-estimated. — Report  of  a 
patriot  Spy  froin  Ferguson's  Camp. —  Williams'  attempt  to  Mislead 
the  Mountaineers. — Lacey  sets  them  Right. —  The  South  Carolinians 
treatment  of  Williams. — Selecting  the  fittest  Men  at  Green  river  to 
pursue  Ferguson. — Arrival  at  the  Cowpens. —  The  Tory,  Saunders 
— his  ignorance  of  Ferguson,  his  Beeves  and  his  Corn. — Story  of 
Kerr,  the  cripple  Spy  — Gilmer,  the  cunning  Scout,  duping  the 
Tories. —  The  Cowpens  Council,  further  selection  of  Pursuers,  and 
their  Number. — Night  March  to  Cherokee  Ford. — Straying  of  Camp- 
belFs  Me?i. — Groundless  Fears  of  an  Ambuscade. —  Crossing  of 
Broad  river. — Stormy  Times. —  Jaded  Condition  of  Men  a}id  Horses. 
■ — Tory  Information. — Gilmer's  Adventures. — Pla7t  of  attacking 
Ferguson . —  Colonel  Graham  Retires. — Chronical  assigned  Command 
of  the  Lincoln  Men. —  Young  Ponder  Taken. — Fergusons  Dress. — 
Pressing  towards  the  enemy's  Camp. 


King's  Mountain  Battle,  October  7th,  1780. 

Ferguson  and  his  Men  Resolve  to  Fight. —  The  Bayonet  their  Main  Re- 
liance.— British  Strength. — Character  of  the  Provincial  Ratigers. — 
Different  Classes  of  Loyalists  Described. —  Traits  of  the  Mountain- 
eers.—  The  Holston  Men,  and  Frontier  Adventures. — Assignment 
of  the  Whig  Corps  to  the  Attack. —  Campbeirs  Appeal  to  his  Men. 


—  WinstorCs  tnis-  Adventures. —  Cleveland  not  the  First  to  Commence 
the  Action. — Surprising  the  Enemy's  Picket. — Shelby's  Column  An- 
noyed by  the  Enemy. —  Campbell's  Men  Rush  into  tlie  Fight— At- 
tack on  the  British  Main  Guard. —  The  Virginians  Advance  up  the 
Mountain. — March  of  Cleveland's  Men— Patriotic  Speech  of  their 
Commander. — Drive  in  a  Picket. — Movements  of  Lacey's  '  Me?i. — 
Campbell's  Corps  Driven  before  the  Bayonet — Rally,  and  Renew 
the  Contest. — Shelby,  too,  Retired  before  the  Charging  Columns. — 
'The  Right  and  Left  Wings  take  part  in  the  Action. —  Culbertson's 
Heroism. —  Captain  Moses  Shelby  Wounded. — Ensign  Campbell  Dis- 
lodging Tories  from  their  Rocky  Ramparts. —  Terrific  Character  of 
the  Conflict. — Amusing  Incident  of  one  of  Lacey's  Meii. — Heroic 
Efforts  of  Campbell  and  his  Corps.- — E?tsign  Campbell's  Good  Con- 
duct.—  Captain  Edmundson's  Exploit  and  Death. — Lieutenant 
Reece  Bouuen's  Disdain  of  Danger,  and  his  Lamented  Fall. —  Camp- 
bell's Active  Efforts  and  Heroic  Appeals. — Death  of  Major  Chron- 
icle.—  The  South  Fork  Boys  Charged,  and  Several  Wounded. — 
Robert  Henry  Transfixed,  and  yet  Survived  all  his  Associates. — 
William  Twitty  and  Abram  Forney. —  Cleveland  and  his  Men. — 
Lieutenant  Samuel  Johnson' and  other  Wounded  Officers. — Intre- 
pidity of  Charles  Gordon  and  David  Witherspoon. — Singular 
Adventure  of  Charles  Bowen  and  Colonel  Cleveland. 


The  Battle— October  7th,  1780. 

Further  Progress  and  Incidents  of  the  Contest. — Heroic  Act  of  William 
Robertson. —  Thomas  Robertson  Shoots  a  Tricky  Tory. —  Treatment 
of  the  Tory  Branson,  by  Captain  Withrow. —  Captain  Lenoir's 
Part  in  the  Battle. —  Captain  Robert  Sevier  Wounded. — Alarm 
concerning  Tarleton. — Mistake  caused  by  Campbell's  Bald  Faced 
Horse. —  Campbell's  Daring  Reconnoiter. — Anecdote  of  Cleveland. 
—  Colonel  Williams'  Patriotic  Conduct. —  William  Giles  "Creased" 
— Revives,  and  Renews  the  Fight. —  Thomas  Young's  Relation  of 
Colonel  Williams'  Fall. — Major  Hammond's  Desperate  Charge, 
and  singular  Premonition  of  one  of  his  Men. —  Campbell  and  Shelby 
Renewing  the  Attack. — Lieutenant-  Colonel  Hambridge  Wounded. — 
Ferguson's  Pride  and  Recklessness — Attempting  to  Escape,  is 
Mortally  Wounded.  —  Various  Statemetits  of  Colonel  Williams' 
Fall.— Furious  Charge  of  Campbell's  and  Shelby's  Men.— Several 
Corps  driven  down  the  Mountain.— British  Over-Shoot  the  Whigs. 
— North  Carolina  Tories  first  to  Weaken.— Colonel  Graham's  Unex- 


pected  Reiiirn. — Fergusons  Fall — DePt-ystcr  Vindicated. —  Whigs 
slow  to  Recognise  the  White  Flag. —  Young  Sevier's  Shooting 
Paroxysm. — Efforts  of  Shelby  and  Campbell  to  Quell  the  Firing  of 
the  Whigs. —  'Three  Rousing  Cheers  for  the  Great  Victory. — 
Colonel  Williams'  Shot — a?z  Exciting  Scene. —  Conflicting  Stories 
of  his  Fatal  Charge. — British  Officers  Sicrrender  their  Swords. — • 
Ferguson's  Heroic  Conduct  in  the  Battle — his  Mistakes. — He  was 
Mortally  Wounded,  not  Killed  Out-Right. —  Curiosity  of  the  Whigs 
to  View  his  Body. — His  Mistresses. — Privations  and  Sifferings  of 
the  Mountaijzeers. — Strefigth  of  the  Tones. — Absence  of  their 
Leaders. —  Their  Fighting  Qualities. — Dismay  of  the  Southern 
British  Commanders.— Their  Ignorajtce  of  the  Over-Mountain 
IVhig  Settlements. — Boone  not  07i  the  Campaign. — Duration  of  the 
Battle.- — Strength  and  Losses  of  the  British  and  Tories. —  Colo?tels 
fohn  and  Patrick  Moore. — Number  of  Prisoners  Taken. — Errors 
in  Report  of  Losses. — Names  of  Whigs  Killed  and  Woimded. — 
Death  of  Captain  Sevier. —  William  Moore  Wounded. — Remarkable 
Losses  in  Campbell's  Regiment. —  Captains  Weir  and  Shannon 
Arrive. —  Counting  the  Dead. —  Caring  for  tlie  Wounded. — Guard- 
i7ig  the  Prisoners. — Scarcity  of  Provisions. — King's  Mountain 
Souve7iirs. — Heart-Rending  Scenes  of  the  Battle  Field. —  The  Night 
after  the  Action. 


October,  1780. 

Battle  Lncidents. — Long  Sam  Abney  Coerced  into  Ferguson's  Army. — 
Death  of  Arthur  Patterson. — Drury  Mathis'  Rough  Experience. — 
A  Tory  Woman  Finding  her  Slain  Son. — Fatality  of  the  Rifllemen. 
— Preston  Goforth  and  three  Brothers  Killed. — A  Brother  kills  u 
Brother. —  The  Whig  and  Tory  Logans. —  Williain  Logan  Noticed. 
— Prepariitg  to  Retire. — Burning  Captured  Wagons. — Horse-Litters 
for  the  Wounded. —  Gray's  Kindness  to  a  Wounded  Tory. — A 
Termagant  Prisoner  Released.^Messengers  sent  to  the  Foot-Men. — 
Arms  Captured. —  Tories  made  to  Carry  Them. —  Trophies  of  Vic- 
tory.— A  Whig  Woman  Refusing  to  Share  in  the  Plunder.— Rumor 
of  Tarleton's  Approach.— Burial  of  the  Whig  and  Tory  Dead.— 
Treatment  of  Ferguson  Considered. — Re-Interment  of  Remains. — 
March  of  the  Army.— Death  of  Col.  Williams.— Camp  at  Broad 
River.— Williams'  Burial.— Discovery  of  his  Long- Forgotten  Grave. 
— Six   Tory  Brothers  Escape. — Notice  of  Colonel  Walker. — Bran- 


don's  Barbarity. —  Campbell  Protecting  the  Prisoners.—Grav'  s  Retort 
to  a  Tory  Vixen.— Graf  s  Services.— Suffering  for  Food.—Feedi7ig 
Prisoners  on  Corn  and  Pumpkins. — Billeting  the  Wounded.— March 
to  Bickerstaff's  Old  Field. 


October— November,  1780. 

Colonel  Campbell  Denounces  Plundering. —  Complaints  Against  Tory 
Leaders.— Their  Outrages  on  the  Whigs.— A  Court  Called  to  Con- 
sider the  Matter. — Retaliation  for  British  Executions  Demanded. — 
A  Law  Found  to  Meet  the  Case. —  Charges  against  Mills,  Gilkey, 
and  McFall. —  Colonel  Davenport  Noticed. — Number  of  Tories 
Tried  and  Cotidemned. —  Case  of  James  Crawford.- — One  of  the 
Prisoners  Released. —  Cleveland  Favoring  Severe  Measures. — 
Motives  of  the  Patriots  Vindicated. — Shelby's  Explanation. — 
Tories  Executed — their  names  and  Residence. — Paddy  Carr's 
Remarks,  and  Notice  of  Him. — Baldwin's  Singular  Escape. — 
Further  Executions  Stopped. —  Tories  Subsequently  Hung. — Rumor 
of  Tarleton's  Approach. —  Whigs  Hasten  to  the  Catawba. — A  Hard 
Day' s  March — Sufferings  of  Patriots  and  Prisoners. — Major  Mc- 
Dowell's Kindness. — Mrs.  McDowell's  Treatment  of  British  Offi- 
cers.— Some  of  the  Whig  Troops  Retire. — Disposition  of  the  Wounded. 
—^Prisoners  Escape  — One  Re-taken  and  Hing. — March  to  the 
Moravia7i  Settlements. — Bob  Powell' s  Challenge. —  Official  Accoimt 
of  the  Battle  Prepared. —  Campbell  and  Shelby  Visit  Getteral  Gates. 
■ — Cleveland  Left  in  Command. — His  Trial  of  Tories. — Escape  of 
Green  a7td  Langum. — Cleveland  Assaults  Doctor  fohnsoti. —  Colonel 
Armstroftg  Succeeds  to  the  Command. — Escape  of  British   Officers. 


October— December,  1780. 

Disposition  of  King's  Mountain  Prisoners. — Proposition  to  Enlist  Them 
— Needed  for  Exchange. —  Congress  refers  the  Matter  to  the  States 
where  the  Prisoners  Belong. — How  They  Dwindled  Away. —  Colonel 
Arjftstrong  Blamed. — Renuiant  Confined  at  Salisbury. — DePeyster 
and  Ryerson  Paroled. — A  Plucky  Band  of  Whigs  Scare  a  Large 
Tory  Party. —  Tarleton  Frustrates  Cornwallis'  Design  of  Relieving 
Fe?guson. — Intercepting     Fergusons     Messengers. —  Tarleton      at 


Length  in  Motion. — His  Instructions. — Effect  of  King  s  Mountain 
Victory. — Ewin  and  Barry  Alarm  the  Neutrals  and  they  Alarm 
Coniwallis. —  Crowning  of  David  Knox. — Cornwallis flees  to  South 
Carolina,  with  the  Imaginary  Mountaineers  in  Pursuit. — A  Tricky 
Guide  Misleading  the  Retiring  Troops. — A  Panic. — Illness  of  Corn- 
wallis.— Sickness  and  Fatality  among  the  Troops. — Privations  and 
Sufferings  of  the  Petrogradcrs.—Aid  Rendered  by  the  Tories.— 
Nmety  Six  Safe. —  Cornwallis  Threatens  Retaliation  for  Execution 
of  King' s  Mountain  Prisoners. —  Gates  and  Randall  on  the  Sittta- 
tion. —  The  (Juestion  Met  by  Geticral  Greene. —  Corn-wallis  Drops  the 
Matter. — 'Case  of  Adam  Ciisack. —  The  IVidows  and  Orphans  of 
Ninety  Six  District. — Good  Words  for  King's  Mountain  Victory. — 
Gates  Thanks  the  Victors. —  Washington  Takes  Courage. — Resolves 
of  Congress. — Greene  and  Lee  Commend  the  Mountaineers. — Lossing, 
Bancroft,  and  Irving  on  the  Result. —  The  British  Leaders  Recognize 
the  Disastrous  Effects  of  Ferguson's  Miscarriage. — Gates  and  Jef- 
ferson's Encomiums. — King's  Mountain  Paves  the  Way  for  York- 
town  and  Independence. 


Gen.  'William  Campbell. 

His  Scotch-Irish  Ancestry. — His  Father  an  Early  Holstoji  Explorer. — 
William  Campbell' s  Birth  and  Education. — Settles  on  Holston. — A 
Captain  on  Dunmore'  s  Campaign. — Raised  a  Company  for  the  first 
Virginia  Regiment  in  1773. — Return  for  the  Defense  of  the  Fron- 
tiers.— His  Military  Appointitients. — Rencounter  with  and  Hanging 
of  the  Bandit  Hopkijis. — Suppressing  Tories  up  New  River. — 
King's  Moimtain  Expedition — his  Bravery  Vindicated. — Public 
Thanks  for  his  Services. — Marches  to  Long  Island  of  Holston. — 
At  Whitzell's  Mills  and  Guilford. — Resigyis  from  Ill-treatment. — 
Made  Brigadier-General. — Serves  tinder  La  Fayette. — Death  and 
Character. — Notices  of  his  King' s  Mountain  Officers. 


Cols.  Shelby  and  Sevier,  and  their  Officers. 

Notice  of  Evan  Shelby. — Isaac  Shelby's  Life  and  Services. —  Officers 
under  him  at  King' s  Mountain — Evan  Shelby,  fr. — Gilbert  Chris- 
tian— Moses  Shelby — fames  Elliott — John  Sawyers — George  Max- 
well, and  George  Rictledge. —  John  Sevier's  Life  and  Services. — 
His  King' s  Mountain  Officers — Jonathan  Tipton — Valentine  and 
Robert  Sevier —  Christopher  Taylor —  Jacob  Brown — Samuel  Weir. 



Col.  Ben.   Cleveland,  Maj.  Joseph  "Winston  and  their 


Cleveland's  Ancestry. — His  Early  Life  and  Hunting  Adventures. — 
Trip  to  Kentucky.— Elk  Hunt  and  Narrow  Escapes. — Revolution- 
ary War. — Suppressing  Scotch  Tories. — Rutherford' s  Cherokee 
Campaign. — Marches  to  Watauga. — Appointed  Colo7iel. — Serves  in 
Georgia. — New  River  Scout. —  King's  Mountain. — Hangs  Coyle 
and  Brown. —  Captured  by  Tories  and  his  Rescue. — Riddle  and 
Wells  Hung. —  Other  Tory  Brigands  Taken — Nichols,  Tate,  and 
Harrison. —  Thumbing  the  Notch. — Reforming  Tories. — Removes  to 
Tugalo. — Hangs  Dinkins. — Appointed  Judge. — Anecdote. — Great 
Size,  Death,  and  Character. 

Major  Joseph  Winston  Noticed. — Be7i.  Herndon. — Micajah  and  Joel 
Lewis. — Robert  and  John  Cleveland. —  Jesse  Franklin. —  William 
I^noir — John  Barton — William  Meredith,  and  Minor  Smith. — 
John  Brown  and  Samuel  Johnson. — David  and  John  Wither- 
spoon. —  Jo.  Herndon,  Richard  Allen,  and  Elisha  Reynolds. 


Laeey  and   Other  "Whigs. — British  and  Tory  Leaders. 

Lacey,  Hawthorne,  Tate,  and  Moffett. —  Williams,  Hammond,  Hayes, 
Dillard,  Thompson,  and  Candler. — Brandon,  Steen,  and  Roebuck. — 
Maj.  McDowell,  Capt.  McDowell,  Kennedy,  Va7ice,  and  Wood. — 
Hampton,  Singleton,  Porter,  Withrow,  Miller,  and  Watson. — 
Hambright,  Grahain,  Chronicle,  Dickson,  Johnston,  White, 
Espey,  Martin,  and  Mattocks. — British  and  Tory  Leaders. 


Allaire's  Diary,  and  Other  British  Accounts. — Letters  of  Williams, 
Davidson,  and  Gates. — Gates'  Thanks  to  the  Victors. —  Official  Re- 
port of  King' s  Mountain. — -Shelby's  and  Catnpbe It's  Letters. —  Wash- 
ington's General  Order. — Arthur  Campbell  and  Unknown  Writer's 
Statements. —  Col.  Campbell's  General  Orders. —  Thanks  of  Virginia 
Legislature. — Lee  and  Greene's  Letters. — LaFayette  on  Campbells 
Death. — Monroe's  Letter. — Robert  Campbell,  Shelby,  Graham, 
Lenoir,  and  Sharp's  Naratives. — " Narrator' s"  Charge.  — Shelby 
and  Sevier's  Correspondence. — Shelby's  Pamphlet. — Synopsis  of  Re- 
joinders.—  Various  Certificates  Vindicating  Col.  Campbell. — Old 
Ballads. — Index. 


176S  to  May,  1780. 

Causes   of  the  Revolution— Alternate   Successes   and  Disasters  of  the 
Early  Campaigns  of  the  War— Siege  and  Reduction  of  Charleston. 

For  ten  years  before  the  outbreak  of  the  American  Revo- 
lution, the  great  question  oi  taxation  witJiout  representation 
agitated  the  minds  of  the  American  people.  They  rejected 
the  stamps,  because  they  implied  a  tax  ;  they  destroyed  .^^; 
the  tea,  because  it  imposed  a  forced  levy  upon  them  without;. 
their  consent,  to  gratify  the  insatiate  demands  of  their  trans- 
Atlantic  sovereign,  and  his  tyrannical  Ministry  and  Parlia- 
ment. Should  they  basely  yield  one  of  their  dearest  rights, 
they  well  judged  they  might  be  required,  httle  by  little,  to 
yield  all.  They,  therefore,  manfully  resisted  these  invasions 
as  unbecoming  a  free  people. 

When,  in  1775,  Great  Britain  determined  to  enforce  her 
obnoxious  laws,  the  people,  under  their  chosen  leaders, 
seized  their  arms,  forsook  their  homes  and  families,  and 
boldly  asserted  their  God-given  rights.  A  long  and  embit- 
tered contest  was  commenced,  involving  mighty  interests. 
Freedom  was  threatened — an  empire  was  at  stake.  Sturdy 
blows  were  given  and  received,  with  various  results.  The 
lirst  year  of  the  war,  the  Americans  beat  back  the  British 
from  Lexington  and  Concord,  and  captured  Crown  Point, 
but  were  worsted  at  Bunker  Plill ;  they  captured  Chambl}- 
and  St.  Johns,  and  repulsed  the  enemy  near  Longueil,  but 
the  intrepid  Montgomery  failed  to  take  Quebec,  losing  his 
life  in  the  effort. 

The  second  year  of  the  contest,  which  brought  forth  the 
immortal  Declaration  of  Independence,  proved  varying  in 



its  fortunes.  The  Scotch  Tories  in  North  Carolina  were 
signally  defeated  at  Moore's  Creek,  and  the  British,  long 
cooped  up  in  Boston,  were  compelled  to  evacuate  the  place  ; 
and  were  subsequently  repulsed  at  Sullivan's  Island,  near 
Charleston  ;  while  the  Americans,  on  the  other  hand,  were 
defeated  at  the  Cedars,  and  were  driven  from  Montreal, 
Chambly  and  St.  Johns,  worsted  at  Long  Island  and  White 
Plains,  and  lost  Fort  Washington,  on  the  Hudson.  Mean- 
while the  frontier  men  of  Virginia,  the  Carolinas,  East  Ten- 
nessee, and  Georgia,  carried  on  successful  expeditions  against 
the  troublesome  Cherokees,  whom  British  emissaries  had  in- 
veigled into  hostilities  against  their  white  neighbors. 

Yet  the  year  closed  with  gloomy  prospects — despair  sat 
on  many  a  brow,  and  saddened  many  a  heart — the  main 
army  was  greatly  reduced,  and  the  British  occupied  New 
York,  and  the  neighboring  Province  of  New  Jersey.  Wash- 
ington made  a  desperate  venture,  crossing  the  Delaware 
amid  floating  ice  in  December,  attacking  and  defeating  the 
unsuspecting  enemy  at  Trenton ;  and,  pushing  his  good 
fortune,  commenced  the  third  j'ear  of  the  war,  1777,  by 
securing  a  victory  at  Princeton.  While  the  enemy  were,  for 
a  while,  held  at  bay  at  the  Red  Bank,  yet  the  results  of 
the  contests  at  Brand3-wine  and  Germantown  were  not 
encouraging  to  the  American  arms,  and  the  British  gained 
a  firm  foot-hold  in  Philadelphia.  And  subsequently  they 
captured  Forts  Clinton  and  Montgomer}',  on  the  Hudson. 

Farther  north,  better  success  attended  the  American 
arms.  St.  Leger,  with  a  strong  British  and  Indian  force, 
laid  siege  to  Fort  Stanwix,  on  the  Mohawk ;  but  after  repel- 
ling a  relieving  party  under  Gen.  Herkimer,  he  was  at  length 
compelled  to  relinquish  his  investiture,  on  learning  of  the 
approach  of  a  second  army  of  relief,  retiring  precipitatel}' 
from  the  country  ;  while  the  more  formidable  invading  force 
under  Burgoyne  met  with  successive  reverses  at  Benning- 
ton, Stillwater,  and  Saratoga,  eventuating  in  its  total  sur- 
render to  the  victorious  Americans. 


In  June,  1778,  the  fourth  year  of  the  war,  the  British 
evacuated  Philadelphia,  when  Washington  pursued  their 
retreating  forces,  overtaking  and  vigorously  attacking  them 
at  Monmouth.  A  large  Tory  and  Indian  party  defeated 
the  setders,  and  laid  waste  the  Wyoming  settlements.  As 
the  result  of  Burgoyne's  signal  discomfiture,  a  treaty  of  alli- 
ance between  the  new  Republic  and  France  brought  troops 
and  fleets  to  the  aid  of  the  struggling  Americans,  and  pro- 
duced some  indecisive  fighting  on  Rhode  Island. 

The  adventurous  expedition  under  George  Rogers  Clark, 
from  the  valleys  of  Virginia  and  West  Pennsylvania,  down 
the  Monongahela  and  Ohio,  and  into  the  country  of  the 
Illinois,  a  distance  of  well  nigh  fifteen  hundred  miles, 
with  limited  means,  destitute  of  military  stores,  pack- 
horses  and  supplies — with  only  their  brave  hearts  and 
trusty  rifles,  was  a  remarkable  enterprise.  Yet  with  all 
these  obstacles,  and  less  than  two  hundred  men,  Clark  fear- 
lessly penetrated  the  western  wilderness,  killing  his  game 
by  the  way,  and  conquered  those  distant  settlements. 
Though  regarded  at  the  time  as  a  herculean  undertaking, 
and  a  most  successful  adventure,  yet  none  foresaw  the 
mighty  influence  it  was  destined  to  exert  on  the  subsequent 
progress  and  extension  of  the  Republic. 

Varied  fortunes  attended  the  military  operations  of  1779, 
the  fifth  year  of  the  strife.  The  gallant  Clark  and  his  intre- 
pid followers,  marched  in  winter  season,  from  Kaskaskia 
across  the  submerged  lands  of  the  Wabash,  sometimes  wad- 
ing up  to  their  arm-pits  in  water,  and  breaking  the  ice  before 
them,  surprised  the  garrison  at  Vincennes,  and  succeeded 
in  its  capture.  The  British  force  in  Georgia,  having  defeated 
General  Ashe  at  Brier  creek,  projected  an  expedition  against 
Charleston,  and  progressed  as  far  as  Stono,  whence  they 
were  driven  back  to  Savannah,  where  the  combined  French 
and  Americans  were  subsequently  repulsed,  losing,  among 
others,  the  chivalrous  Count  Pulaski.  At  the  North,  Stony 
Point  was  captured  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet,  and  Paulus 


Hook  surprised  ;  while  General  Sullivan's  well-appointed 
army  over-ran  the  beautiful  covintry  of  the  Six  Nations, 
destroying  their  villages,  and  devastating  their  fields,  as  a 
retributive  chastisement  for  their  repeated  invasions  of  the 
Mohawk  and  Minisin  settlements,  and  laying  waste  the 
lovely  vale  of  W3'oming. 

The  war  had  now  dragged  its  slow  length  along  for  five 
successive  campaigns,  and  the  British  had  gained  but  few 
permanent  foot-holds  in  the  revolted  Colonies.  Instead  of 
the  prompt  and  easy  conquest  they  had  promised  themselves, 
they  had  encountered  determined  opposition  wherever  they 
had  shown  the  red  cross  of  St.  George,  or  displayed  their 
red-coated  soldiery.  Repeated  defeats  on  the  part  of  the 
Americans  had  served  to  inure  them  to  the  hardships  of 
war,  and  learned  them  how  to  profit  by  their  experiences  and 

New  efforts  were  demanded  on  the  part  of  the  BritisTi 
Government  to  subdue  their  rebellious  subjects  ;  and  South. 
Carolina  was  chosen  as  the  next  field  of  extensive  opera- 
tions. Sir  Henry  Clinton,  who  had  met  so  signal  a  repulse 
at  Charleston  in  1776,  and  in  whose  breast  still  rankled  the 
mortifying  recollections  of  that  memorable  failure,  resolved 
to  head  in  person  the  new  expedition  against  the  Palmetto 
Colony,  and  retrieve,  if  possible,  the  honor  so  conspicu- 
ously tarnished  there  on  his  previous  unfortunate  enterprise. 

Having  enjoyed  the  Christmas  holiday  of  1779  in  New 
York  harbor.  Sir  Plenry,  accompanied  by  Lord  Cornwallis, 
sailed  from  Sandy  Hook  the  next  day  with  the  fleet  under 
Admiral  Arbuthnot,  transporting  an  army  of  over  seven 
thousand  five  hundred  men.  Some  of  the  vessels,  however, 
were  lost  by  the  way,  having  encountered  stormy  weather 
in  the  gulf-stream — one  bark,  carrying  Hessian  troops,  was 
dismasted  and  driven  across  the  ocean,  an  ordnance  vessel 
was  foundered,  while  several  transports  were  captured  by 
bold  and  adventurous  American  privateers,  and  most  of  the 
horses  for  the  expedition  perished.     The  place  of  rendez- 


vous  was  at  Tybee  Bay,  near  the  entrance  to  Savannah 
river,  whence  Clinton,  on  his  way  towards  Charleston,  was 
joined  by  the  troops  in  Georgia,  making  his  force  nine 
thousand  strong,  besides  the  sailors  in  the  fleet ;  but  to  ren- 
der his  numbers  invincible  beyond  all  peradventure,  he  at 
once  ordered  from  New  York  Lord  Rawdon's  brigade, 
amounting  to  about  two  thousand  five  hundred  more. 

Charleston,  against  which  this  formidable  British  force 
was  destined,  was  an  opulent  city  of  some  fifteen  thousand 
people,  white  and  black,  and  was  garrisoned  by  less  than 
four  thousand  men — not  near  enough  to  properly  man  the 
extended  works  of  defence,  of  nearly  three  miles  in  circum- 
ference, as  they  demanded.  Governor  Rutledge,  a  man 
of  unquestioned  patriotism,  had  conferred  upon  him  by  the 
Legislature,  in  anticipation  of  this  threatened  attack,  dicta- 
torial powers,  vi^ith  the  admonition,  "  to  do  every  thing 
necessary  for  the  public  good  ;  "  but  he  was,  nevertheless, 
practically  powerless.  He  had  few  or  none  of  the  sinews 
of  war ;  and  so  depreciated  had  become  the  currency  of 
South  Carolina,  that  it  required  seven  hundred  dollars  to 
purchase  a  pair  of  shoes  for  one  of  her  needy  soldiers.  The 
defeat  of  the  combined  French  and  American  force  at  Savan- 
nah the  preceding  autumn,  in  which  the  South  Carolinians 
largely  participated,  had  greatly  dispirited  the  people  ;  and 
the  Governor's  appeal  to  the  militia  produced  very  little  effect. 
The  six  old  South  Carolina  regiments  had  been  so  depleted 
by  sickness  and  the  casualties  of  war  as  to  scarcely  number 
eight  hundred,  all  told ;  and  the  defence  of  the  citjf  was 
committed  to  these  brave  men,  the  local  militia,  and  a  few 
regiments  of  Continental  troops — the  latter  reluctantly 
spared  by  Washington  from  the  main  army,  and  which,  ho 
thought,  was  "  putting  much  to  nazard"  in  an  attempt  to 
defend  the  city,  and  the  result  proved  his  military  foresight. 
It  would  have  been  wiser  for  General  Lincoln  and  his 
troops  to  have  retired  from  the  place,  and  engaged  in  a 
Fabian  warfare,  harassing  the  enemy's  marches  by  ambus- 


cades,  and  cutting  off  his  foraging  parties  ;  but  the  leading 
citizens  of  Charleston,  relying  on  their  former  success, 
urged  every  argument  in  their  power  that  the  city  should  be 
defended  to  the  last  extremity.  Yet  no  experienced  En- 
gineer regarded  the  place  as  tenable. 

On  the  eleventh  of  February,  1780,  the  British  forces 
landed  on  St.  John's  Island,  within  thirty  miles  of  Charles- 
ton, subsequently  forming  a  depot,  and  building  fortifications, 
at  Wappoo,  on  James'  Island  ;  and,  on  the  twenty-sixth  of 
that  month,  they  gained  a  distant  view  of  the  place  and  har- 
bor. The  dreaded  day  of  danger  approached  nearer  and 
nearer ;  and  on  the  twenty-seventh,  the  officers  of  the  Con- 
tinental squadron,  which  carried  one  hundred  and  fifty  guns, 
reported  their  inabilit}^  to  guard  the  harbor  at  the  bar,  where 
the  best  defence  could  be  made  ;  and  "  then,"  as  Washington 
expressed  it,  "the  attempt  to  defend  the  town  ought  to  have 
been  relinquished."  But  no  such  thought  was  entertained. 
Every  thing  was  done,  that  could  be  done,  to  strengthen 
and  extend  the  lines  of  defence,  dig  ditches,  erect  redoubts 
and  plant  abatis,  with  a  strong  citadel  in  the  center.* 

Preparations,  too,  were  steadily  progressing  on  the  part 
of  the  enemy.  On  the  twenty-fourth  of  March,  Lord  Corn- 
wallis  and  a  Hessian  officer  were  seen  with  their  spy- 
glasses making  observations  ;  and  on  the  twenty-ninth,  the 
British  passed  Ashley  river,  breaking  ground,  on  the  first 
of  April,  at  a  distance  of  eleven  hundred  yards  from  the 
American  lines.  At  successive  periods  they  erected  five 
batteries  on  Charleston  Neck. 

Late  in  the  evening  of  March  thirtieth,  General  Charles 

=:=  There  was  published,  first  in  a  Williamsburgh,  Va.,  paper  of  April  8th,  1780,  copied 
i  ito  Dunlap's  Pennsylvania  Packet  of  April  i8th,  and  into  the  New  York  Royal  Gazette  of 
same  date,  an  account  of  a  Colonel  Hamilton  Callendine  having  made  drawings  of  Charleston 
and  its  fortifications,  was  directing  his  course  to  the  enemy,  when  an  American  picket 
guard  sent  out  to  Stono,  captured  him;  he,  thereupon,  exhibited  his  drafts,  supposing  that 
the  party  belonged  to  the  British  army.  They  soon  disabused  him  of  his  error,  carried 
him  to  General  Lincoln,  who  ordered  him  for  execution,  and  he  was  accordingly  hanged  on 
the  5th  of  March,  As  none  of  the  South  Carolina  historians,  nor  any  of  the  Charleston 
diarists  or  letter-writers  during  the  siege,  make  the  slightest  reference  to  any  such  person 
or  circumstance,  there  could  have  been  no  foundation  for  the  story. 


Scott,  commanding  one  of  the  Virginia  Continental  bri- 
gade, arrived,  accompanied  by  his  staff,  and  some  other 
officers.  "The  next  morning,"  says  Major  Croghan,  "I 
accompanied  Generals  Lincoln  and  Scott  to  view  the  batteries 
and  works  arovmd  town  ;  found  those  on  the  Cooper  river  side 
in  pretty  good  order,  and  chiefly  manned  by  sailors  ;  but  the 
greater  part  of  the  remainder  not  complete,  and  stood  in 
need  of  a  great  deal  of  work.  General  Scott  was  very  par- 
ticular in  inquiring  of  General  Lincoln  as  to  the  quantity  of 
provisions  in  the  garrison,  when  the  General  informed  him 
there  were  several  months'  suppl}^  by  a  return  he  had  re- 
ceived from  the  Commissary.  General  Scott  urged  the 
necessity  of  having  officers  to  examine  it,  and,  as  he  ex- 
pressed it,_/br  them  to  lay  their  hatids  on  it."* 

A  sortie  was  planned  on  the  fourth  of  April,  to  be  com- 
inanded  by  General  Scott — one  battalion  led  by  Colonel 
Clarke  and  Major  Hogg,  of  North  Carolina ;  another  by 
Colonel  Parker  and  Major  Croghan,  of  Virginia,  and  the 
light  infantry  by  Lieutenant-Colonel  Laurens  ;  but  the  wind 
proved  unfavorable,  which  prevented  the  shipping  from 
going  up  Town  creek,  to  fire  on  the  enemy,  and  give  the 
sallying  party  such  assistance  as  they  might  be  able  to  ren- 
der, and  thus  it  failed  of  execution.  General  Woodford's 
Virginia  brigade  of  Continentals  arrived  on  the  sixth,  and 
some  North  Carolina  militia  under  the  command  of  Colonel 
Harrington.  They  were  greeted  by  the  firing  of  a  yeu  de 
joie,  and  the  ringing  of  the  bells  all  night. f 

Admiral  Arbuthnot's  near  approach  to  the  bar,  on  the 
seventh  of  April,  induced  Commodore  Whipple,  who  com- 
manded the  American  naval  force,  to  retire  without  firing  a 
gun,  first  to  Fort  Moultrie,  and  afterward  to  Charleston  ;  and 
the  British  fleet  passed  the  fort  without  stopping  to  engage 
it — the  passage  having  been  made,  says  the  New  Jersey 

"MS.  Journal  of  Major  William    Croghan,  of  the  Virginia    Line.     Siege  of   Charles- 
ton, 123. 

\  Croghan's  MS.  Journal. 


Gazette,'^  while  a  severe  thunder  storm  was  raging,  which 
caused  the  ships  to  be  "  invisible  near  half  the  time  of  their 
passing."  Colonel  Charles  C.  Pinckney,  who  commanded 
there,  with  three  hundred  men,  kept  up  a  heavy  cannon- 
ade on  the  British  ships  during  their  passage,  which  was 
returned  by  each  of  the  vessels  as  they  passed — the  enemy 
losing  fourteen  men  killed,  and  fifteen  wounded,  while  not 
a  man  was  hurt  in  the  garrison. f  One  ship  had  its  fore- 
topmast  shot  away,  and  others  sustained  damage.  The 
Acteus  transport  ran  aground  near  Haddrell's  Point,  when 
Captain  Thomas  Gadsden,  a  brother  of  Colonel  Gadsden, 
who  was  detached  with  two  iield  pieces  for  the  purpose,  fired 
into  her  with  such  effect,  that  the  crew  set  her  on  fire,  and 
retreated  in  boats  to  the  other  vessels.  The  Royal  fleet,  in 
about  two  hours,  came  to  anchor  within  long  shot  of  the 
American  batteries. 

By  the  tenth  of  April,  the  enemj'  had  completed  their 
first  parallel,  when  Clinton  and  Arbuthnot  summoned  the 
town  to  surrender.  Lincoln  answered  :  "From  duty  and 
inclination  I  sh'all  support  the  town  to  the  last  extremity." 
A  severe  skirmish  had  previously  taken  place  between 
Lieutenant-Colonel  John  Laurens  and  the  advance  guard  of 
the  enemy,  in  which  the  Americans  lost  Captain  Bowman 
killed,  and  Major  Hyrne  and  seven  privates  wounded.  On  the 
twelfth,  the  batteries  on  both  sides  were  opened,  keeping  up 
an  almost  incessant  fire.  The  British  had  the  decided  ad- 
vantage in  the  number  and  strength  of  their  mortars  and 
royals,  having  twenty-one,  while  the  Americans  possessed 
only  two  ;]:  and  the  lines  of  the  latter  soon  began  to  crumble 
under  the  powerful  and  constant  cannonade  maintained 
against  them.     On  the  thirteenth.  Governor  Rutledge  was 

*  May  i2th,  1780. 

t  Croghan's  MS.  Journal. 

I  Such  is  the  statement  of  Dr.  Ramsay,  who  was  present  during  the  siege.  The 
British  official  returns  show  nine  mortars,  ranging  from  four  to  ten-inch  caliber,  and  one 
eight-inch  howitzer,  surrendered  at  Charleston,  and  a  ten-inch  mortar  taken  at  Fort  Moul- 
trie; but  probably  the  most  of  these  were  either  unfit  for  use,  or  more  likely,  the  limited 
quantity  of  shells  enabled  the  defenders  to  make  use  of  only  two  of  this  class  of  ordnance. 


persuaded  to  withdraw  from  the  garrison,  while  exit  was 
yet  attainable,  leaving  Lieutenant-Governor  Gadsden  with 
five  members  of  the  Council. 

On  the  same  day.  General  Lincoln,  in  a  council  of  war, 
revealed  to  its  members  his  want  of  resources,  and  suggested 
an  evacuation.  "  In  such  circumstances,"  said  General  Mc- 
intosh, "  we  should  lose  not  an  hour  in  attempting  to  get 
the  Continental  troops,  at  least,  over  Cooper  river  ;  for  on 
their  safety,  depends  the  salvation  of  the  State."  But  Lin- 
coln only  wished  them  to  give  the  matter  mature  consider- 
ation, and  he  would  consult  them  further  about  it.  Before 
he  met  them  again,  the  American  cavalry  at  Monk's  Corner, 
which  had  been  relied  on  to  keep  open  the  communication 
between  the  city  and  the  country,  were  surprised  and  dis- 
persed on  the  fourteenth  ;  and  five  days  later,  the  expected 
British  reinforcements  of  two  thousand  five  hundred  men 
arrived  from  New  York,  when  Clinton  was  enabled  more 
completely  to  environ  the  devoted  city,  and  cut  ofi'all  chance 
of  escape. 

A  stormy  council  was  held  on  the  nineteenth,  when  the 
heads  of  the  several  military  departments  reported  their 
respective  conditions — of  course,  anything  but  flattering  in 
their  character.  Several  of  the  members  still  inclined  to  an 
evacuation,  notwithstanding  the  increased  difliiculties  of 
effecting  it  since  it  was  first  suggested.  In  the  midst  of  the 
conference,  Lieutenant-Governor  Gadsden  happened  to  come 
in — whether  by  accident,  or  design,  was  not  known — and 
General  Lincoln  courteously  proposed  that  he  be  allowed  t(^ 
take  part  in  the  council.  He  appeared  surprised  and  dis- 
pleased that  a  thought  had  been  entertained  of  either  evacu- 
ation or  capitulation,  and  acknowledged  himself  entirely 
ignorant  of  the  state  of  the  provisions,  etc.,  but  would  con- 
sult his  Council  in  regard  to  the  proposals  suggested. 

In  the  evening,  an  adjourned  meeting  was  held,  when 
Colonel  Laumoy,  of  the  engineer  department,  reported  the 
insufficiency  of  the  fortifications,  the  improbability  of  holding 


out  many  daj-s  longer,  and  the  impracticability  of  making 
a  retreat ;  and  closed  by  suggesting  that  terms  of  honorable 
capitulation  be  sought  from  the  enemy.  Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Gadsden,  with  four  of  his  Councilors,  coming  in  shortly 
after,  treated  the  military  gentlemen  very  rudely,  the  Lieut- 
enant-Governor declaring  that  he  would  protest  against  their 
proceedings  ;  that  the  militia  were  willing  to  live  upon  rice 
alone,  rather  than  give  up  the  town  on  any  terms  ;  and  that 
even  the  old  women  had  become  so  accustomed  to  the  ene- 
my's shot,  that  they  traveled  the  streets  without  fear  or 
dread  ;  but  if  the  council  were  determined  to  capitulate,  he 
had  his  terms  ready  in  his  pocket. 

Mr.  Thomas  Ferguson,  one  of  the  Councilors,  declared 
that  the  inhabitants  of  the  city  had  observed  the  boats  col- 
lected to  carr}-  off  the  Continental  troops  ;  and  that  they 
would  keep  a  good  watch  upon  the  army,  and  should  any 
attempt  at  evacuation  ever  be  made,  he  would  be  among 
the  first  to  open  the  gates  for  the  admission  of  the  enemy, 
and  assist  thern  in  attacking  the  retiring  troops  Colonel  C. 
C.  Pinckney  soon  after  came  in  abruptly — probably  having 
been  apprised  by  the  Lieutenant-Governor  of  the  subject 
under  discussion — and,  forgetting  his  usual  politeness,  ad- 
dressed General  Lincoln  with  great  warmth,  and  in  much  the 
same  strain  as  General  Gadsden,  adding  that  those  who  were 
for  business  needed  no  council,  and  that  he  came  over  on 
purpose  from  Fort  Moultrie,  to  prevent  any  terms  being 
offered  to  the  enemy,  or  any  evacuation  of  the  garrison  at- 
tempted ;  and  particularly  charged  Colonel  Laumoy  and  his 
department  with  being  the  sole  authors  and  promoters  of 
such  proposals.* 

It  is  very  certain,  that  these  suggestions  of  evacuation  or 
capitulation,  occasioned  at  the  time  great  discontent  among 
both  the  regulars  and  militia,  who  wished  to  defend  the  city 

*The  details  of  this  military  council  are  taken  from  Major  Crochan's  MS.  Journal  ;  and 
from  Gener,ilMc'ntosh's  Journal,  published  entire  in  the  Mngnrtlm  Masrmntt.  Dec.  1842.  and 
cited  in  Simms'  South  Carolina  in  the  Revolution,  127-129,  both  of  which  are  in  this  case 
identical  in  language. 


to  the  last  extremity  ;  and  who  resolved,  in  view  of  continu- 
ing the  defence,  that  they  would  be  content,  if  necessary, 
with  only  half  rations  daily.*  All  these  good  people  had 
their  wishes  gratified — the  siege  was  procrastinated,  and 
many  an  additional  death,  suffering,  sorrow,  and  anguish, 
were  the  consequence. 

General  Lincoln  must  have  felt  hurt,  it  not  sorely  nettled, 
by  these  repeated  insults — as  General  Mcintosh  acknowl- 
edges that  he  did.  Wlien  matters  of  great  public  concern 
result  disastrously,  scape-goats  are  always  sought,  and  all 
participants  are  apt  to  feel  more  or  less  unamiable  and 
fault-finding  on  such  occasions.  Or,  as  Washington  ex- 
pressed it,  referring  to  another  affair,  "mutual  reproaches 
too  often  follow  the  failure  of  enterprises  depending  upon  the 
cooperation  of  troops  of  different  grades."  Looking  at  these 
bickerings  in  the  light  of  history,  a  century  after  their  oc- 
currence, one  is  struck  with  General  Lincoln's  magnanimous 
forbearance,  when  he  confessedly  made  great  sacrifices  in 
defending  the  place  so  long  against  his  better  judgment,  in 
deference  to  the  wishes  of  the  people,  who,  we  may  well 
conclude,  were  very  unfit  judges  of  military  affairs. 

At  another  council  of  officers,  held  on  the  twentieth  and 
twenty-first,  the  important  subject  of  an  evacuation  was  again 
under  deliberation  ;  and  the  conclusion  reached  was,  "  that  it 
was  unadvisable,  because  of  the  opposition  made  to  it  by 
the  civil  authority  and  the  inhabitants,  and  because,  even  if 
they  should  succeed  in  defeating  a  large  body  of  the  enemy 
posted  in  their  way,  they  had  not  a  sufficiency  of  boats  to 
cross  the  Santee  before  they  might  be  overtaken  by  the 
whole  British  army."f     It  was  then  proposed  to  give  Sir 

'■=MS.  letter  of  John  Lewis  Gervais,  cited  in  Simms.  129. 

f  The  enemy  were  constantly  on  the  watch  for  any  attempted  evacuation  on  the  part 
of  the  Americans.  Capt  J.  R.  Rousselet,  of  Tarleton's  cavalry,  has  left  this  MS.  note, 
written  on  the  margin  of  a  copy  of  Steadman's  American  War,  referring  to  the  closing 
period  of  the  siege:  "  Some  small  vessels,  taken  from  the  Americans,  were  armed,  manned 
with  troops,  and  stationed  off  Town  Creek,  to  prevent  the  escape  of  the  garrison  should 
they  attempt  to  evacuate  the  town  by  that  channel.  Capt.  Rousselet  commanded  an 
armed  sloop,  with  his  company  o-a.  board,  under  Capt.  Salisbury,  Royal  Navy." 


Henry  Clinton  quiet  possession  of  the  city,  with  its  fortifi- 
cations and  dependencies,  on  condition  that  the  security  of 
the  inhabitants,  and  a  safe,  unmolested  retreat  for  the  gar- 
rison, w'lXh  baggage  and  field  pieces,  to  the  north-east  of 
Charleston  should  be  granted.  These  terms  were  instantly 
rejected.  On  searching  every  house  in  town,  it  was  found 
that  the  private  supplies  of  provisions  were  as  nearly  ex- 
hausted as  were  the  public  magazines. 

On  the  twenty-fourth,  at  daybreak,  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Henderson  sallied  out  with  two  hundred  men,  chiefly  from 
Generals  Woodford's  and  Scott's  brigades,  surprising  and 
vigorously  attacking  the  advance  flanking  party  of  the 
enemj%  bayoneting  fifteen  of  them  in  their  trenches,  and 
capturing  a  dozen  prisoners,  of  whom  seven  were  wounded, 
losing  in  the  brilliant  affair,  the  brave  Captain  Thomas  Gads- 
den and  one  or  two  privates.  A  considerable  body  of  the 
enemj',  under  Major  Hall,  of  the  seventy-fourth  regiment, 
attempted  to  support  the  party  in  the  trenches  ;  but  were 
obliged  to  retire  on  receiving  a  shower  of  grape  from  the 
American  batteries.*  A  successful  enterprise  of  this  kind 
proved  onl}'  a  momentarj^  advantage,  having  no  perceptible 
influence  on  the  final  result. 

It  is  said  Colonel  C.  C.  Pinckney,  and  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Laurens,  assured  General  Lincoln  they  could  supply  the  gar- 
rison with  plenty  of  beef  from  Lempriere's  Point,  if  they  were 
permitted  to  remain  on  that  side  of  Cooper  river  with  the  force 
then  under  their  command  ;  upon  which  the  Commissary  was 
ordered  to  issue  a  full  allowance  again.  But  unfortunately 
the  first  and  only  cattle  butchered  at  Lempriere's  for  the  use 
of  the  garrison  were  altogether  spoiled  through  neglect  or 
mismanagement  before  they  came  over.  These  gentlemen, 
are  said,  also,  to  have  promised  that  the  communication  on 
the  Cooper  side  could,  and  would,  be  kept  open.  Being  in- 
habitants of  Charleston,  and  knowing  the  country  well,  per- 
haps the  General,  with  some  reason,  might  be  inclined  to  the 

*Croghan's  MS.  Journal. 


same  opinion  ;  and  besides  furnishing  the  garrison  with  beef, 
they  were  to  send  a  sufficient  number  of  negroes  over  to 
town  for  the  militarj^  works,  who  were  much  wanted.  But 
Colonel  Pinckney  with  the  greater  part,  or  almost  the  whole 
of  his  first  South  Carolina  regiment,  and  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Laurens  with  the  light  infantry  were  recalled  from  Fort  Moul- 
trie and  Lempriere's  * — and  thus  ended  this  spasmodic  hope. 
Probabl}'  this  failure  caused  a  strict  search  to  be  made, 
about  this  time,  in  the  houses  of  the  citizens  for  provisions  ; 
"■  some  was  found,"  says  Major  Croghan,  "  but  a  much  less 
quantitjr  than  was  supposed." 

The  Americans  were  not  slow  in  perceiving  the  utter 
hopelessness  of  their  situation.  On  the  twenty -sixth,  General 
DuPortail,  an  able  French  officer  and  Engineer-in-Chief 
of  the  American  army,  arrived  from  Philadelphia,  having 
been  sent  by  Washington  to  supervise  the  engineer  depart- 
ment. He  frankly  informed  General  Lincoln  that  there  was 
no  prospect  of  getting  any  reinforcements  very  soon  from  the 
grand  army — that  Congress  had  proposed  to  General  Wash- 
ington to  send  the  Maryland  Line  to  their  relief,  f  As  soon 
as  General  DuPortail  came  into  the  garrison,  examined  the 
military  works,  and  observed  the  enemy,  he  declared  the 
defences  were  not  tenable — that  they  were  only  field  lines  ; 
and  that  the  British  might  have  taken  the  place  ten  days  ago. 
"  I  found  the  town,"  wrote  DuPortail  to  Washington,  "  in 
a  desperate  state. "|  He  wished  to  leave  the  garrison  imme- 
diately, whileitwas  possible  ;  but  General  Lincoln  would  not 
allow  him  to  do  so,  as  it  would  dispirit  the  troops.  On 
learning  General  DuPortail' s  opinion,  acouncilwas  called  the 
same  day,  and  a  proposition  made  for  the  Continental  troops 
to  make  anightretreat ;  and  when  the  citizens  were  informed 
of  the  subject  under  deliberation,  some  of  them  came  into 
the  council,  warmly  declaring  to  General  Lincoln,  thatif  he 
attempted  to  withdraw  the  troops  and  abandon  the  citizens, 

*  Croghan's  MS.  Journal  ;  and  Mcintosh's  Diary. 

t  Croghan's  MS.  Journal. 

}  Letters  to  Washington,  ii,  450. 


they  would  cut  up  his  boats,  and  open  the  gates  to  the  enemy. 
This  put  an  end  to  all  further  thoughts  of  an  evacuation.* 

As  late  as  the  twenty-eighth,  a  supernumerary  officer 
left  town  to  join  the  forces  in  the  country  ;  but  the  next  day  the 
small  party  remaining  at  Lempriere's  Point  was  recalled, 
the  enemy  at  once  occupying  it  with  a  large  force  ;  and  thus 
the  last  avenue  between  the  city  and  country  was  closed. 
General  Lincoln  informed  the  general  officers,  privately,  this 
day,  that  he  intended  the  horn  work  as  a  place  of  retreat 
for  the  whole  army  in  case  they  were  driven  from  the  lines. 
General  Mcintosh  observing  to  him  the  impossibility  of  those 
then  stationed  at  South  Bay  and  Ashley  river,  in  such  a 
contingency,  being  able  to  retreat  there,  he  replied  that  they 
might  secure  themselves  as  best  they  could.  And  on  the 
thirtieth,  in  some  way,  Governor  Rutledge  managed  to  con- 
vey a  letter  to  General  Lincoln,  upon  which  the  General  con- 
gratulated the  army,  in  general  orders,  on  ;^car2'M_§-of  a  large 
reinforcement,  which  may  again  open  the  communication 
with  the  country. f  It  was  the  old  story  of  drowning  men 
catching  at  straws. 

It  is  unnecessary  to  dwell  upon  the  daily  details  of  the 
protracted  siege.  Some  of  the  more  unusual  occurrences 
only  need  be  briefly  noticed,  so  that  we  may  hasten  on  to  the 
melancholy  catastrophe.  Eleven  vessels  were  sunk  in  the 
channel  to  prevent  the  Royal  fleet  from  passing  up  Cooper 
river,  and  enfilading  the  American  lines  on  that  side  of  the 
place ;  while  a  frigate  and  two  galleys  were  placed  above 
the  sunken  obstructions,  to  cooperate  with  the  shore  batter- 
ies in  thwarting  any  attempt  on  the  part  of  the  enemy  for 
their  removal. 

But  the  work  of  destruction  went  steadily  on.  Cannon 
balls  hy  day  and  by  night  went  streaking  through  the  air, 
and  crashing  through  the  houses.  One  morning,  a  shell 
burst  very  near  Colonel   Parker,  a  large  piece  of  which  fell 

*  Moultrie's  Memoirs,  i,  80. 
f  Croghan's  MS.  Journal, 


harmless  at  his  feet,  when  he  said,  with  much  composure, 
"a  miss  is  as  good  as  a  mile;"*  and,  that  very  evening, 
while  the  gallant  Colonel  was  looking  over  the  parapet,  he 
was  shot  dead.  Shells,  fire-balls,  and  carcasses,  ingen- 
iously packed  with  combustibles,  loaded  pistol  barrels,  and 
other  destructive  missiles,  were  thrown  into  the  city,  setting 
many  buildings  on  fire,  and  maiming  and  destroying  not  a 
few  of  the  citizens  and  soldiery.  On  one  occasion,  when  a 
pastor  and  a  few  worshipers,  mostly  women  and  invalids, 
were  gathered  in  a  church,  supplicating  the  mercies  of 
heaven  on  themselves  and  suffering  people,  a  bomb-shell 
fell  in  the  chuch-yard,  when  all  quickly  dispersed,  retiring 
to  their  several  places  of  abode. 

Some  of  the  cases  of  fatality  were  quite  uncommon. 
Meyer  Moses'  young  child  was  killed  while  in  the  arms  of 
its  nurse,  and  the  house  burned  down.  A  man  and  his  wife 
were  killed  at  the  same  time,  and  in  the  same  bed.  A  sol- 
dier who  had  been  relieved  from  serving  at  his  post  in  the 
defence  of  the  city,  entered  his  humble  domicil,  and  while  in 
the  act  of  embracing  his  anxious  wife,  with  tears  of  gladness, 
a  cannon  ball  passed  through  the  house,  killing  them  both 
instantly.  Many  sought  safety  in  their  cellars  ;  but  even 
when  protected  for  the  moment  from  the  constantly  falling 
missiles  of  death  and  destruction,  they  began  to  suflier  for 
want  of  food ,  since  all  the  avenues  to  the  city  for  country 
supplies,  had  been  cut  off. 

General  Moultrie  has  left  us  a  vivid  picture  of  this  period  of 
the  siege  :  "Mr.  Lord  and  Mr.  Basquin,  two  volunteers,  were 
sleeping  upon  the  mattress  together,  in  the  advanced  redoubt, 
when  Mr.  Lord  was  killed  by  a  shell  falling  upon  him,  and 
Mr.  Basquin  at  the  same  time  had  the  hair  of  his  head  burnt, 
and  did  not  awake  until  he  was  aroused  from  his  slumbers  by 
his  fellow  soldiers.  The  fatigue  in  that  advanced  redoubt  was 
so  great  for  want  of  sleep,  that  many  faces  were  so  swelled 
they  could  scarcely  see  out  of  their  eyes .    I  was  obliged  to  re- 

*  Virginia  Gazette,  May  i6,  1780. 


Heve  Major  Mitchell,  the  commanding  officer.  They  were 
constantly  on  the  lookout  for  the  shells  that  were  continually 
falling  among  them.  It  was  by  far  the  most  dangerous  post 
on  the  lines.  On  my  visit  to  the  battery,  not  having  been 
there  for  a  day  or  two,  I  took  the  usual  way  of  going  in, 
which  was  a  bridge  that  crossed  our  ditch,  quite  exposed  to 
the  enemy,  who,  in  the  meantime,  had  advanced  their  works 
within  seventy  or  eighty  yards  of  the  bridge,  which  I  did 
not  know.  As  soon  as  I  had  stepped  upon  the  bridge,  an 
uncommon  number  of  bullets  whistled  about  me ;  and  on 
looking  to  my  right,  I  could  just  see  the  heads  of  about 
twelve  or  fifteen  men  firing  upon  me  from  behind  a  breast- 
work— I  moved  on,  and  got  in.  When  Major  Mitchell  saw 
me,  he  asked  me  which  way  I  came  in?  I  told  him  over 
the  bridge.  He  was  astonished,  and  said,  '  Sir,  it  isathou- 
sand  to  one  that  you  were  not  killed,'  and  told  me  that  he 
had  a  covered  waj;-  through  which  to  pass,  by  which  he  con- 
ducted me  on  my  return.  I  staid  in  this  battery  about  a 
quarter  of  an  hour,  giving  the  necessary  orders,  during  which 
we  were  constantly  skipping  about  to  get  out  of  the  way  of 
the  shells  thrown  from  their  howitzers.  They  were  not  more 
than  one  hundred  j'ards  from  our  works,  and  were  throwing 
their  shells  in  bushels  on  our  front  and  left  flank."* 

Under  date  of  the  second  of  May,  Major  Croghan  records 
in  his  Journal,  which  is  corroborated  by  General  Mcintosh's 
Diary,  that  the  enem)^  threw  shells  charged  with  rice  and 
sugar.  Simms  tells  us,  that  tradition  has  it,  that  it  was  not 
rice  and  sugar  with  which  the  shells  of  the  British  v/ere 
thus  ironically  charged,  but  wheat  flour  and  molasses — with 
an  inscription  addressed :  ' '  To  the  Yankee  officers  in 
Charleston,"  courteously  informing  them  that  it  contained  a 
supply  of  the  commodities  of  which  they  were  supposed  to 
stand  most  in  need.  But  the  garrison  could  still  jest  amid 
suffering,  volcanoes  and  death.  Having  ascertained  that 
the  shell  was  sent  them  from  a  battery  manned  exclusively 

*Moultrie*s  Memoirs^  i,  83. 


by  a  Scottish  force,  they  emptied  the  shell  of  its  contents  ; 
and  filling  it  with  lard  and  sulphur,  to  cure  them  of  the 
itch,  and  sent  it  back  to  their  courteous  assailants,  with  the 
same  inscription  which  originally  accompanied  it.  "  It  was 
understood,"  says  Garden,  "  after  the  siege,  that  the  note 
was  received,  but  not  with  that  good  humor  that  might  have 
been  expected,  had  it  been  considered  as  aycM  d''esfrit,  re- 
sulting from  justifiable  retaliation." 

"  Provisions,"  as  we  learn  from  Johnson's  Traditions, 
"now  failed  among  the  besieged.  A  sufficiency  had  been 
provided  for  the  occasion  ;  but  the  beef  and  pork  had  be- 
come tainted  and  unfit  for  food."  But  the  British  "were 
misinformed,"  says  Moultrie,  "if  they  supposed  us  in  want 
of  rice  and  sugar."  Of  the  latter  article,  at  least  during 
the  earlier  stages  of  the  siege,  such  was  its  plentifulness 
that  it  was  a  favorite  amusement  to  pursue  the  spent  hot 
shot  of  the  enemy,  in  order,  by  flinging  sugar  upon  the 
balls,  to  convert  it  into  candy.  But  towards  the  close  of 
the  siege,  the  supply  of  sugar  must  have  become  limited. 
"  On  the  fourth  of  May,"  says  Major  Croghan,  "  we  received 
from  the  Commissary,  with  our  usual  allowance  of  rice,  six 
ounces  of  extremely  bad  meat,  and  a  little  coftee  and  sugar. 
It  has  been  very  disagreeable  to  the  northern  officers  and 
soldiei-s  to  be  under  the  necessity  of  living  without  wheat  or 
Indian  bread,  which  has  been  the  case  during  the  whole 
siege."  So  that  the  Scotch  jokers  who  sent  their  shot, 
laden  with  either  rice  and  sugar,  or  flour  and  molasses,  iron- 
ically hinting  at  the  deficiencies  of  the  beleaguered  garri- 
son, did  not,  after  all,  hit  very  wide  of  the  mark. 

Clinton,  on  the  sixth  of  May,  renewed  his  former  terms 
for  the  surrender  of  the  garrison.  With  the  limited  store 
of  provisions  on  hand,  with  no  prospects  of  receiving  fur- 
ther supplies  or  reinforcements,  and  with  the  admission  on 
the  part  of  the  Engineers  that  the  lines  could  not  be  main- 
tained ten  days  longer,  and  were  hable  to  be  carried  by  as- 
sault at  any  time.  General  Lincoln  was  disposed  to  accept  the 


terms  tendered  ;  but  he  was  opposed  by  the  citizens,  as  they 
were  required  by  Clinton  to  be  prisoners  on  parole,  when 
the}^  wished  to  be  regarded  as  non-combatants,  and  not 
subject  to  the  rigorous  laws  of  war,  It  was  only  putting 
ofl'  the  evil  day  for  a  brief  period  ;  and  again  the  twenty- 
four  and  thirty-two  pound  carronades,  the  mortars  and 
howitzers,  belched  forth  their  shot,  shell  and  carcasses  upon 
the  devoted  town  and  garrison,  setting  many  buildings  on 
fire,  and  keeping  up  the  most  intense  excitement.  So  near 
were  now  the  opposing  parties,  that  they  could  speak  words 
of  bravado  to  each  other  ;  and  the  rifles  of  the  Hessian  Ya- 
gers were  so  unerring,  that  a  defender  could  no  longer  show 
himself  above  the  lines  with  safety  ;  and  even  a  hat  raised 
upon  a  ramrod,  was  instantly  riddled  with  bullets. 

Captain  Hudson,  of  the  British  Navy,  on  the  fifth  of  May, 
summoned  Fort  Moultrie,  on  Sullivan's  Island  to  surrender  ; 
the  larger  portion  of  its  garrison  having  previously  retired 
to  Charleston.  Lieutenant-Colonel  William  Scott,*  who  com- 
manded, sent  for  answer  a  rollicking  reply  :  "Tol,  lol,  de  rol, 
lol — Fort  Moultrie  will  be  defended  to  the  last  extremity." 
The  next  day,  Fludson  repeated  his  demand,  threatening  that 
if  he  did  not  receive  an  answer  in  fifteen  minutes,  he  would 
storm  the  fort,  and  put  every  man  to  the  sword.  Scott,  it 
would  seem,  was  at  first  disposed  to  resort  to  bravado  of 
the  "last  extremity"  character;  but  recalled  the  officer 
bearing  it,  saying  on  further  reflection  the  garrison  thought 
better  of  it — the  disparity  of  force  was  far  too  great — and 
begging  for  a  cessation  of  hostilities,  proposed  terms  of  sur- 
render, which  were  granted  by  Captain  Hudson.  The  sur- 
render formally  took  place  on  the  seventh. f  Thus  the  historic 

*  Scott  was  a  brave,  experienced  officer.  He  served  as  a  Captain  during  the  attack  on 
Charleston,  in  1776,  and  died  in  that  city  in  June,  1807. 

I  Gordon's  History  0/  the  Revolutioji,  iii,  354;  i\Ioultrie's  Memoirs,  ii,  84;  Ramsay's 
Revolution  in  South  Carolina,  ii,  56,  Bancroft,  a,  305,  and  others,  give  May  6th  as  the  date 
of  surrender,  but  that  the  7th  was  the  true  date  of  this  occurrence  mr.y  be  seen  by  com. 
paring  Tarleton's  Cajnpai^n,  53-55;  Botta's  Revohition,  New  Haven  edition,  1842,  ii,  249; 
Johnson's  Traditions,  259;  Pimms'  South  Carolina  in  the  Revolution,  146;  and  Siege  0/ 
Charleston.  Munsell,  1867,  p.  167. 


Fort  Moultrie,  which  four  years  before  had  signally  repulsed 
a  powerful  British  fleet  under  Admiral  Sir  Hyde  Parker, 
now  surrendered  to  the  enemy  without  firing  a  gun. 

The  seventh  of  May  was  further  noted  by  an  unfortunate 
disaster — the  partial  destrucdon  of  the  principal  magazine 
of  the  garrison,  by  the  bursdng  of  a  shell.  General  Moultrie 
had  most  of  the  powder — ten  thousand  pounds — removed  to 
the  north-east  corner  of  the  exchange,  where  it  was  carefully 
bricked  up,  and  remained  undiscovered  by  the  Bridsh  durino- 
the  two  years   and  seven  months  they   occupied  the   cAy. 

Another  summons  was  sent  in  by  Clinton  on  the  eighth a 

truce  was  granted  till  the  next  day  ;  when  Lincoln  endeav- 
ored to  secure  the  militia  from  being  considered  as  prisoners 
of  war,  and  the  protecdon  of  the  citizens  of  South  Carohna 
in  their  lives  and  property,  with  twelve  months  allowance 
of  time  in  which  to  determine  whether  to  remain  under 
■British  rule,  or  dispose  of  their  efiects  and  remove  else- 
where. These  articles  were  promptly  rejected,  with  the 
announcement  on  the  part  of  Clinton  that  hostilities  would 
be  re-commenced  at  eight  o'clock  that  evening. 

"After  receiving  his  letter,"  says  Moultrie,  "we  re- 
mained near  an  hour  silent,  all  calm  and  ready,  each  wait- 
ing for  the  other  to  begin.  At  length,  we  fired  the  first  gun, 
and  immediately  followed  a  tremendous  cannonade — about 
one  hundred  and  eighty,  or  two  hundred  pieces  of  heavy 
cannon  were  discharged  at  the  same  moment.  The  mortars 
from  both  sides  threw  out  an  immense  number  of  shells.  It 
was  a  glorious  sight  to  see  them,  like  meteors,  crossing 
each  other,  and  bursting  in  the  air.  It  appeared  as  if  the 
stars  were  tumbling  down.  The  fire  was  incessant  almost 
the  whole  night,  cannon  balls  whizzing,  and  shells  hissing, 
continually  among  us,  ammunition  chests  and  temporary 
magazines  blowing  up,  great  guns  bursting,  and  wounded 
men  groaning  along  the  lines.  It  was  a  dreadful  night !  It 
was  our  last  great  effort,  but  it  availed  us  nothing.  After  it, 
our  military  ardor  was  much  abated,  and  we  began  to  cool.'' 

36  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

When,  on  the  eleventh  of  May,  the  British  had  crossed  the 
wet  ditch  by  sap,  and  were  within  twenty-five  yards  of  the 
American  lines,  all  farther  defense  was  hopeless.  The  militia 
refused  to  do  duty.*  It  was  no  longer  a  question  of  expedi- 
ency ;  but  stern  necessity  demanded  a  speedy  surrender,  and 
the  stoppage  of  farther  carnage  and  suffering.  General  Lin- 
coln had  proved  himself  brave,  judicious  and  unwearied  in  his 
exertions  for  three  anxious  months  in  baffling  the  greatl}- 
superior  force  of  Sir  Henrj^  Clinton  and  Admiral  Arbuth- 
not.  Hitherto  the  civil  authorities,  and  citizens  of  Charles- 
ton, had  stoutly  contended  that  the  city  should  be  defended 
to  the  last  extremity ;  but  now,  when  all  hope  was  lost,  a 
large  majority  of  the  inhabitants,  and  of  the  militia,  peti- 
tioned General  Lincoln  to  accede  to  the  terms  offered  by  the 
enemy.     The  next  day  articles  of  capitulation  were  signed. 

The  loss  of  the  Americans  during  the  siege  was  ninety- 
eight  officers  and  soldiers  killed,  and  one  hundred  and  forty- 
six  wounded  ;  and  about  twenty  of  the  citizens  were  killed 
by  the  random  shots  of  the  enemy.  Upward  of  thirty 
houses  were  burned,  and  man}'  others  greatty  damaged. 
Besides  the  Continental  troops,  less  than  two  thousand,  of 
whom  five  hundred  were  in  hospitals,  and  a  considerable 
number  of  sailors,  Sir  Henry  Clinton  managed  to  enumer- 
ate among  the  prisoners  surrendered,  all  the  free  male 
adults  of  Charleston,  including  the  aged,  the  infirm,  and 
even  the  Loyjdists,  so  as  to  swell  the  number  of  his  formid- 
able conquest.  In  this  way,  his  report  was  made  to  boast 
of  over  five  thousand  six  hundred  prisoners,  when  the  Loyal- 
ist portion  but  a  few  days  afterwards  offered  their  congratu- 
lations on  the  reduction  of  South  Carolina.  The  regular 
troops  and  sailors  became  prisoners  of  war  until  exchanged  ; 
the  militia  from  the  country  were  permitted  to  return  home 
on  parole,  and  to  be  secured  in  their  property  so  long  as 
their  parole  should  be  observed. 

:*Du  Portail  to  Washington,  May  17th,  1780. 



May,  1780. 

Further  Incidents  Connected  with  the  Siege. —  Tyranny  of  the  British 
leaders. — Subjugation  of  South  Carolina. 

A  sad  accident  occurred  shortly  after  the  surrender. 
The  arms  taken  from  the  troops  and  inhabitants,  amounting 
to  some  five  thousand,  were  lodged  in  a  laboratorj^,  near  a 
large  quantity  of  cartridges  and  loose  powder.  A  number 
of  the  British  officers  desiring  some  of  the  handsome  mounted 
swords  and  pistols,  went  to  the  place  of  deposit  to  select 
such  as  pleased  their  fancy,  when  through  cai-elessness  in 
snapping  the  guns  and  pistols,  the  loose  powder  was  ig- 
nited, which  communicated  to  the  cartridges,  blew  up  the 
building,  and,  in  an  instant,  guards,  officers,  arms,  colors, 
drums  and  fifes  were  sent  high  into  the  air — the  mangled 
bodies  of  the  victims  were  dashed  by  the  violent  explosion 
against  the  neighboring  houses,  and,  in  one  instance,  against 
the  steeple  of  a  contiguous  church  edifice.  The  work-house, 
jail,  and  old  barracks  were  destroyed.  Captain  CoUins, 
Lieutenants  Gordon  and  McLeod,  together  with  some  fifty 
of  the  British  guard,  and  upward  of  fifty  of  the  citizens,  lost 
their  lives  by  this  unhappy  occurrence.* 

It  is  a  singular  fact,  that  at  least  during  a  portion  of  the 
siege,  Major  John  Andrd,  Deputy  Adjutant-General  of  the 
British  army,  managed  in  some  way  to  get  into  the  city, 
and  made  his  home  with  Edward  Shrewsberry,  on  the  east 
side  of  East  Bay  street.  William  Johnson,  a  prominent 
Whig,  and  others,  saw  the  young  man  at  Shrewsberry's 
dressed  in  plain  homespun ;  and  were  told  that  he   was  a 

*  Ramsay's  Revolution,  ii,  62-63  i   Moultrie's  Memoirs  ii,  109-112  ;   Pennsylvania  Journal, 
July  5th,  1780;  Simms'  South  Carolina  in  the  Revolution,  156-157;   Mackenzie's  Strictures,  34. 


back  countryman,  connected  with  the  Virginia  troops,  and 
had  brought  down  cattle  for  the  garrison.  By  this  cattle- 
drover  ruse,  he  probably  gained  access  to  the  city.  He 
was,  of  course,  there  tor  a  purpose — to  make  observations, 
and  gain  intelligence,  and  in  some  secret  way,  communicate 
the  result  to  Sir  Henry  Clinton  The  historian,  Ramsay, 
who  was  pres.ent  during  the  siege,  admits  that  there  were 
secret  friends  of  the  Royal  Government  in  the  city,  foment- 
ing disaffection,  and  working  on  the  fears  of  the  timid  ;  and 
Moultrie,  another  eye-witness,  tells  us  that  when  the  British 
marched  in,  to  take  possession  of  the  city.  Captain  Roch- 
fort  said  to  him,  "  Sir,  you  have  made  a  gallant  defence; 
but  you  had  a  great  many  rascals  among  you,  (and  men- 
tioned names,)  who  came  out  every  night  and  gave  us  in- 
formation of  what  was  passing  in  your  garrison."* 

Stephen  Shrewsberry  becoming  sick,  stopped  with  his 
brother  Edward  awhile,  and  repeatedly  saw  Andrd  there — 
of  course,  bearing  some  assumed  name  ;  and  after  his  re- 
covery, and  the  surrender  of  the  city,  he  was  introduced  to 
the  same  person  at  his  brother's  as  Major  Andr^.  Stephen 
Shrewsberry  mentioned  this  singular  circumstance  to  his 
brother  Edward,  who  frankly  acknowledged  that  he  was 
the  same  person  ;  but  asserted  his  own  ignorance  of  it  at  the 
time  of  his  brother's  illness.  Marion's  men  subsequent])' 
sought  the  life  of  Edward  Shrewsberrj^,  charging  him  with 
treachery  to  the  American  cause  ;  but  he  survived  the  war, 
leaving  a  daughter,  a  very  amiable  lady,  who  lived  till  18^4, 
dying  childless. 

Certain  it  is,  that  Andrd  was  the  devoted  friend  and  pro- 
tegd  of  Sir  Henry  Clinton,  who  made  him  his  Aid,  and  pro- 
moted him  to  the  position  of  Deputv  Adjutant-General  of  the 
British  army  in  America ;  and  it  is  equally  certain,  as 
shown  by  Beatson's  Memoirs,  that  "Adjutant-General,  Ma- 
jor John  Andr^ "  was  with  the  "force  that  embarked  at 
New  York  under  Clinton  and  Arbuthnot."     Tarleton  shows 

*  Ramsay's  Revolution,  ii,  58;  Moultrie's  Meinoivs,  ii,  108. 


that  Andre  was  performing  service  in  front  of  Charleston 
prior  to  Arbuthnot's  passage  of  Fort  Moultrie  early  in  April ; 
a  letter  of  Andrd's  is  in  print,  dated  at  "  Headquarters,  be- 
fore Charleston,"  on  the  thirteenth  of  April,  1780,  while 
^the  schedule  of  Charleston  prisoners,  in  May,  was  reported 
by  him  in  his  official  capacity — all  going  to  show,  beyond  a 
question,  that  he  was  at  or  near  Charleston  during  the  whole 
period  of  its  investment.  It  was  far  less  dangerous  for  him 
to  pass  to  and  from  the  city  during  the  siege,  than  it  was  to 
visit  West  Point  on  his  subsequent  mission  to  tempt  the 
Judas  of  the  American  Revolution. 

However  fascinating  his  talents  and  deportment,  he  was 
not  entitled  to  the  commiseration  of  the  American  people  as 
an  honorable  but  unfortunate  foe.  Twice  he  acted  the  part 
of  an  insidious  spy,  corrupting  and  deceiving  with  falsehoods 
and  mean  dissimulation;  and  he  was  twice,  at  least,  guilty  of 
theft — once  while  stationed  in  Philadelphia,  plundering  from 
the  library  of  the  University  of  Pennsylvania,  a  complete 
set  of  that  valuable  work,  L' Encyclofcdm,  received  as  a 
present  from  the  French  Academy  of  Science  by  the  hands 
of  Dr.  Franklin  ;  on  the  other  occasion,  taking  from  Dr. 
Franklin's  residence,  which  he  occupied  a  while,  a  portrait 
of  the  philosopher.* 

An  incident  connected  with  the  siege  and  surrender  of 
Charleston,  serving  to  illustrate  the  peculiarities  and  perils 
of  the  times,  will  very  appropriately  find  a  place  here.  Rev. 
Dr.  Percy  resided  on  a  plantation  not  very  far  from  Monk's 
Corner,  with  Mrs.  Thomas  Legard  for  a  near  neighbor. 
One  day — probably  the  thirteenth  of  May — while  Mrs.  Le- 
gard  was  present,  Mrs.  Gibson,  a  poor  woman,  was  an- 
nounced while  the  family  and  their  visitor  was  at  their  meal. 
As  she  was  usually  the  bearer  of  ill  news,  her  visit  very  natur- 

*  Johnson's  L?7>£7/"t7rcf«^.  i,  note  208-209;  Johnson's  Traditions  of  the  Rer'oiuiion, 
255-257;  Snrgent's  /-//f  o/^srf'-^',  225-228;  Mmon's  Remeiii'tritncer.  x.  ^6-■JT,  Dawson's 
Battles  0/  the  United  i.  578;  Cirrinjton's  B.iUles  of  the  Re-jolution.  497;  Tarlcton's 
Campaigns,  12,  64;  15eat<on's  Naval  and  military  I^re.noirs.  vi,  203-204;  Moore's  Diary 
0/  tl-.e  Revolution,  ii,  484;  and  Lossing's  Field  Booli  o/the  Revolution,  ii,  104. 


ally  excited  the  anxiet}-  of  all.  She  exclaimed,  "  Good  morn- 
ing people  ;  ha\'e  you  heard  the  news  ?  Charleston  has  fallen, 
and  the  devilish  British  soldiers  have  cut  to  pieces  all  the 
men,  all  the  cats,  all  the  dogs,  and  now  they  are  coming  to 
kill  all  the  women  and  children."  Terrified  by  her  excited 
and  incoherent  statement,  the  ladies  looked  ready  to  faint ; 
and  Dr.  Percy  cried  out,  "For  shame,  Mrs.  Gibson  ;  do  you 
not  know  that  Mrs.  Legare's  husband  and  son  are  in 
Charleston,  and  you  will  frighten  her  to  death  by  your  wild 
talk."  "  Bless  you,  good  woman,"  replied  Mrs.  Gibson, 
turning  to  Mrs.  Legare,  "  I  have  a  husband  and  four  sons 
there,  too,  and  God  only  knows  if  anv  of  them  live."  In 
the  course  of  a  few  da-\'s,  Mrs.  Gibson  received  the  sad  in- 
telligence that  her  husband  and  four  sons  had  all  been  killed 
during  the  siege.*  Such  are  some  of  the  vicissitudes  of 

It  may  well  be  asked,  wh}^  did  such  military  men  as 
Lincoln,  Moultrie,  Mcintosh,  Scott,  Woodford  and  others, 
sufier  themselves,  with  a  body  of  brave  troops,  to  be  cooped 
up  in  a  city  \\hich  they  were  not  capable  of  successfully  de- 
fending ?  At  first  they  relied  on  the  promises  of  Congress 
and  the  Executive  authorities  of  North  and  South  Carolina  of 
sending  near  ten  thousand  men,  one-half  of  whom  should 
be  regulars,  for  the  defence  of  the  place. f  In  the  latter 
part  of  Februarj^  it  was  reported  that  General  Hogan  was 
advancing  with  troops  from  North  Carolina  ;  that  General 
Moultrie  was  forming  a  camp  at  Bacon's  Bridge,  which  was 
subsequendy  transferred  to  the  command  of  General  Huger  ; 
that  a  thousand  men  were  expected  from  General  William- 
son's brigade  in  the  region  of  Ninety  Six  ;  and  that  the 
veteran  General  Richardson,  and  Colonel  Kershaw,  were 
embodying  the  militia  of  the  Camden  region. J  General 
Richardson  sickened  and  died ;  General  Moultrie  from  ill- 

*  Howe's  Hist.  Presb.  Ch.  of  South  Carolina,  471. 

t  Ram'^ny's  Revolution,  ii,  59;  Gordon's  American  War,  iii,  348;  MarshaU's  Washing- 
ton, iv,  141-42: 

J  Colonel  Laurens,  ill  Almon,  x,  53  ;  Moore's  Materials /or  History,  175. 


ness  had  to  return  to  the  city.  Colonel  Sumter  at  that  time 
had  no  command,  and  Marion  was  hiding  away  for  the 
recovery  of  a  broken  limb.  To  enthuse  the  militia,  and 
expedite  their  movements,  Governor  Rutledge,  the  Patrick 
Henrjr  of  South  Carolina,  and  a  part  of  his  Councilors,  left 
the  beleaguered  city  in  April ;  but  they  met  with  little  suc- 
cess. The  people  relied  too  much  upon  succors  from  the 
North;  besides,  they  were  almost  destitute  of  ammunition. 

Hogan's  party  finally  reached  the  city  ;  and  about  that 
time  another  North  Carolina  contingent  under  General 
Lillington,  whose  term  of  enlistment  expired,  mostly 
availed  themselves  of  their  privilege  and  retired  before  the 
serious  part  of  the  siege  had  commenced ;  and  less  than . 
two  hundred  of  the  South  Carolina  militia,  probably  mostly 
from  the  Charleston  region,  shared  in  the  defence  of  the 
place.  Congress  and  the  States  were  alike  crippled  in 
resources,  and  everything  moved  tardily.  General  De  Kalb 
had  started,  past  the  middle  of  April,  with  fourteen  hundred 
Continentals  from  head  quarters  in  New  Jersey ;  Colonel 
Armand's  corps,  and  Major  Nelson's  horse,  were  on  the 
way  ;  and,  as  late  as  the  second  of  May,  General  Caswell, 
of  North  Carolina,  had  reached  Lanneau's  Ferry,  on  the 
Santee,  with  eight  or  nine  hundred  Continentals  and  militia  ; 
some  militia  were  being  gathered  at  Orangeburg ;  and  Col- 
onel Buford's  and  Lieutenant-Colonel  Porterfield's  Virginia 
detachments,  were  within  the  borders  of  the  State.  Gen- 
eral Huger,  with  Colonel  Horry's  cavalry,  and  the  remnants 
of  Colonel  White's  and  Colonel  Washington's  dragoons, 
were  scattered  somewhere  about  the  country.  There  was 
no  concert  or  unity  of  action,  and  probably  not  sufficient 
supplies  to  admit  of  their  concentration.  But  all  these 
hopes  of  succor  to  the  suffering  garrison  were  as  illusive  in 
the  end  as  the  tgnis-fatuus  to  the  benighted  traveler. 

General  Lincoln  was  not  altogether  destitute  of  military 
supplies  ;  for  he  had  four  hundred  pieces  of  ordnance  of 
various  caliber,  for  the  defence  of  the  city  and  the  neighbor- 


ing  works ;  but  the  mortars  were  few,  and  of  shell  there 
would  seem  to  have  been  a  very  limited  supply.  Powder 
was  so  plenty  that  there  were  fifty  thousand  pounds  at  the 
surrender,  besides  ten  thousand  pounds  more  bricked  up  at 
the  Exchange.  But  even  with  the  aid  of  six  hundred  ne- 
groes, the  defensive  works,  from  their  great  extent,  were 
totally  inadequate  to  the  purpose  ;  and  had  there  been  force 
enough  to  have  properly  manned  them — of  which  there  was 
a  sad  deficiency — the  scanty  supply  of  provisions  would 
have  been  all  the  sooner  exhausted.  Food  supplies  had 
been  stored,  in  large  quantities,  to  the  north  eastward  of 
Charleston  ;  but  from  the  little  value  of  the  depreciated  paper 
currencjr,  the  want  of  carriages  and  horses,  together  with 
the  bad  condition  of  the  roads,  they  could  not  be  transported 
to  town  before  the  investiture  was  completed.  With  all 
these  disappointments  and  discouragements,  and  the  power- 
ful army  and  nav}^  with  all  the  appliances  of  war,  con- 
fronting them  for  nearly  three  months,  it  is  not  a  little  siir- 
prising  that  General  Lincoln  and  his  brave  garrison  were 
able  to  hold  out  so  long. 

Nor  were  the  whites  the  only  sufferers.  As  in  Prevost's 
invasion  of  1779,  so  in  Clinton's  of  1780,  the  negro  servants 
flocked  in  large  numbers  to  the  British  army,  and  were 
employed  in  throwing  up  their  defences  and  other  laborious 
operations.  Crowded  together,  they  were  visited  by  the 
camp  fever  ;  and  the  small-pox,  which  had  not  been  in  the 
Province  for  seventeen  years,  broke  out  among  them,  and 
spread  rapidly.  From  these  two  diseases,  and  the  impos- 
sibility of  their  being  provided  with  proper  accommodations 
and  attendance  in  the  British  encampments,  they  were  left 
to- die  in  great  numbers  in  the  woods,  where  they  remained 
unburied.  A  few  instances  occurred,  in  which  infants  were 
found  in  unfrequented  retreats,  drawing  the  breasts  of  their 
deceased  mothers  some  time  after  life  had  expired.* 

The  reduction  of  Charleston  struck  the  people  with  pro- 

*  Ramsay's  Revolution,  ii.  67. 


found  amazement,  coupled  with  something  akin  to  despair. 
The  futile  attempts  of  the  British  against  the  city  in  1776, 
and  again  in  1779,  ^'^^  inspired  nearly  all  classes  with  a  fatal 
confidence  that  then-  capital  city  would  again  escape  the 
snares  of  the  enemj^ — to  be  accomplished  in  some  Providen- 
tial way,  of  which  they  had  no  verj^  clear  conception.  But 
in  matters  of  war,  as  of  peace,  God  helps  those  who  help 
themselves.  Had  the  people  of  South  Carolina  repaired  in 
large  numbers  to  their  capital,  with  proper  supplies  for  a 
long  siege  ;  or  had  they,  while  their  fellows  were  cooped  up 
within  the  devoted  city,  embodied  under  such  men  as  Sum- 
ter, Williamson,  Pickens,  Kershaw,  Williams  and  other 
popular  leaders,  harassed  the  besieging  army,  cut  off  its 
foraging  parties,  kept  the  communication  open,  and  encour- 
aged the  beleaguered  garrison  to  make  sorties,  and  perhaps 
capture  supplies  from  their  enemies,  the  approaches  of  the 
British  might  have  been  retarded,  and  the  siege  prolonged 
till,  perhaps,  the  arrival  of  DeKalb  and  other  forces  from 
the  North. 

Could  the  enemy  have  thus  been  retarded,  they  would 
soon  have  encountered  a  yet  more  dangerous  foe  in  the 
rapidly  approaching  hot  season,  when  camp  life  and  expos- 
ure in  that  malarial  climate,  would  have  rapidly  decimated 
their  forces.  And  there  was,  perhaps,  still  another  end  to 
be  gained  by  prolonging  the  siege  On  the  second  of  May, 
a  large  French  fleet,  under  the  Chevalier  de  Ternay,  trans- 
porting an  army  of  nearly  six  thousand  of  the  choicest  troops 
of  France,  commanded  by  the  Count  de  Rochambeau,  had 
sailed  from  Brest,  destined  to  aid  the  young  Republic  in  its 
struggle  for  independence.  On  the  twentieth  of  June,  the}' 
encountered  a  Bridsh  fleet,  in  ladtude  30°,  a  httle  south 
of  the  Bermuda  Islands,  when  some  distant  exchanging 
of  shots  occurred  between  them.  Several  days  before  this 
event,  the  French  fleet  had  captured  a  Bridsh  cutter  con- 
veying several  British  officers  from  Charleston  to  the  Ber- 
mudas, by  whom  they  learned  of  the  siege  and  capture  of 


Charleston  ;  and,  soon  after  taking  another  vessel,  one  of 
Admiral  Arbuthnot's  fleet,  on  its  return  to  New  York,  they 
learned  by  its  papers  and  passengers  a  full  confirmation 
of  the  fall  of  the  devoted  city.* 

According  to  Moultrie,  it  was  the  plan  of  Ternay  and 
Rochambeau  to  have  attempted  the  relief  of  Charleston, 
had  they  not  have  learned  of  its  capture.  Their  intention 
was,  to  have  entered  Ball's  Bay,  landed  the  troops  at  Sevee's 
Ba}^  then  marched  down  to  Haddrell's  Point,  crossing 
thence  over  to  Charleston;  "which,"  saj's  Moultrie,  "they 
could  very  easily  have  done,  and  would  have  effectually 
raised  the  siege,  and  taken  the  British  fleet  in  Charleston 
harbor  and  in  Stono  Inlet,  and,  in  all  probability,  their 
whole  arm}'.'  Had  the  news  of  this  approaching  fleet 
been  known  in  time  by  General  Lincoln,  and  the  people  of 
the  surrounding  country,  the  defence  of  the  city  might  have 
been  prolonged,  and,  perhaps,  the  mortification  of  surren- 
der averted — and  the  salvation  of  Charleston  been  celebrated 
in  history  as  one  of  the  grandest  achievements  of  the  Revo- 

But  all  this  misadventure  was  not  without  its  compensa- 
tions ;  for  Rochambeau's  fine  army  landed  safely  at  New- 
port, and,  in  time,  joined  Washington,  giving  new  life  and 
hope  to  the  American  cause,  and  sharing  in  the  capture  of 
Cornwallis  the  follo\\'ing  j'ear.  It  was  a  knowledge  of  the 
fitting  out  of  Ternay's  fleet,  and  its  probable  American  des- 
tination, that  prompted  Sir  Henry  Clinton  to  hasten  the 
capture  of  Charleston,];  and  then  to  expedite  the  larger  part 
of  his  forces  to  the  northward,  lest  New  York  should  be 
attacked  and  taken  by  the  combined  French  and  American 

"'■'Rochambeau's  Memoirs,  Paris,  1824,  i,  241-243;   Almon's  Remembrancer,  x.  273 

t  Moultrie's  Memoirs,  ii,  202-203;  Johnson's    Traditions.  262. 

X  The  British  Government  had  kept  a  close  watch  on  this  large  French  fleet  during  the 
long  period  of  its  fitting  out  at  Brest;  and,  no  doubt,  apprised  Sir  Henry  Clinton  of  the 
approaching  danger.  The  Virginia  Gazette  of  May  31st,  1780  has  a  Philadelphia  item 
under  date  of  May  gtb,  saying  a  gentleman  from  New  York  stated,  that  it  was  reported  in 
that  city  that  a  French  and  Spanish  fleet  was  expected  upon  the  American  coast,  and  that 
the  enterprise  against  Charleston  was  to  be  abandoned. 


troops  and  navy  ;  and  thus  were  the  Southern  Colonies  left 
with  CornwalHs'  crippled  army,  rendering  possible  the  noble 
services  of  Greene,  Sumter,  and  Marion. 

Taking  advantage  of  the  calm,  British  detachments 
were  sent  out  in  all  directions  to  plant  the  Royal  standard, 
over-awe  the  people,  and  require  them  to  take  protection. 
Conspicuously  observable  was  the  greediness  of  the  con- 
querors for  plunder.  The  value  of  the  spoil,  which  was 
distributed  by  English  and  Hessian  Commissaries  of  cap- 
tures, amounted  to  about  three  hundred  thousand  pounds 
sterling ;  the  dividend  of  a  Major-General  exceeded  over 
four  thousand  guineas — or  twenty  thousand  dollars.  There 
was  no  restraint  upon  private  rapine  ;  the  silver  plate  of  the 
planters  was  carried  off;  all  negroes  that  had  belonged  to 
Rebels  were  seized,  even  though  they  had  themselves  sought 
an  asylum  within  the  British  lines  ;  and,  at  a  single  embark- 
ation, two  thousand  were  shipped  to  a  market  in  the  West 
Indies.  British  and  Gei-man  officers  thought  more  of 
amassing  fortunes  than  of  re-uniting  the  empire.  The  pa- 
triots were  not  allowed  to  appoint  attorneys  to  manage  or 
sell  their  estates.  A  sentence  of  confiscation  hung  over  the 
whole  land,  and  British  protection  was  granted  only  in 
return  for  the  unconditional  promise  of  loj^alty.* 

The  dashing  Colonel  Tarleton  had  been  dispatched  with 
his  cavalry  in  pursuit  of  Colonel  Buford's  regiment,  which 
had  arrived  too  late  to  join  the  Charleston  garrison  ;  and 
which  were  overtaken  near  the  Waxhaw  settlement,  and 
many  of  them  cut  to  pieces  with  savage  cruelty.  One  hun- 
dred and  thirteen  of  Buford's  men  were  cut  down  and  killed 
outright.;  a  hundred  and  fifty  too  badly  hacked  to  be  re- 
moved, while  only  fifty-three  could  be  brought  as  prisoners 
to  Camden.  If  anything  at  this  time  could  have  added  to 
the  general  depression  so  prevalent  among  all  classes  of 
people,  it    was  just  such  a  barbarous  butchery  as  this  of 

■*Ramsny's  Revolution,  ii,  66-67;  Gordons  American  War,  iii,  382;  Bancroft's  History 
United  States,  a,  305-6. 


Tarleton's.  The  highest  encomiums  were  bestowed  by 
Cornwallis  upon  tiie  liero  of  this  sickening  massacre. 

On  the  twenty-second  da}-  of  May,  it  was  proclaimed  that 
all  who  should  thereafter  oppose  the  King  in  arms,  or  hinder 
any  one  from  joining  his  forces,  should  have  his  property  con- 
fiscated, and  be  otherwise  severel}-  punished  ;  and,  on  the  first 
of  June,  Clinton  and  Arbuthnot,  as  Royal  Commissioners, 
offered  by  proclamation,  pardon  to  the  penitent,  on  condition 
of  their  immediate  teturn  to  allegiance  ;  and  to  the  loyal,  the 
pledge  of  their  former  political  immunities,  including  free- 
dom from  taxation,  save  by  their  own  chosen  Legislature. 
On  the  third  of  that  month,  another  proclamation  by  Clinton, 
required  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  Province,  "  who  were  now 
prisoners  on  parole."  to  take  an  active  part  in  maintain- 
ing the  Ro3'al  Government;  and  they  were  assured,  that 
"should  they  neglect  to  return  to  their  allegiance,  they  will 
be  treated  as  rebels  to  the  Government  of  the  King." 

Thus  tyrannical  measures  were  advanced  step  by  step 
till  the  poor  paroled  people  could  no  longer  be  protected,  as 
they  had  been  promised,  by  remaining  quietly  at  home  ;  but 
must  take  up  arms  in  defence  of  the  Government  they  ab- 
horred, and  which  was  forging  chains  for  their  perpetual 
enslavement.  On  the  eve  of  his  departure  for  New  York, 
leaving  the  Southern  command  under  Lord  Cornwallis, 
Clinton  reported  to  his  Royal  masters  in  England:  "The 
inhabitants  from  every  quarter  declare  their  allegiance  to 
the  King,  and  offer  their  services  in  arms.  There  are  few 
men  in  South  Carolina  who  are  not  either  our  prisoners  or 
in  arms  with  us." 

A  few  weeks  later,  when  two  prominent  men,  one  who 
had  filled  a  high  position,  and  both  prominently  concerned 
in  the  rebellion,  went  to  Cornwallis  to  surrender  themselves 
under  the  provisions  of  Clinton  and  Arbuthnot's  procla- 
mation, the  noble  Earl  could  only  answer  that  he  had  no 
knowledge  of  its  existence.  And  thus  his  Lordship  com- 
menced his  career  as  Commander-in-Chief  of  the  South- 


em  department,  ignoring  all  ideas  and  promises  of  a  policy 
of  moderation.  He  sowed  the  wind,  and  in  the  end  reaped 
the  whirlwind. 

The  people  of  South  Carolina,  as  we  have  seen,  were 
not  sufficiently  aroused  to  a  sense  of  their  danger,  undl  it 
was  too  late  to  avert  it — if,  indeed,  they,  alone  and  single- 
handed,  could  by  an}'  possibilit}'  have  warded  off"  the  great 
public  calamity.  When  they  learned  the  appalling  news 
of  the  surrender  of  Charleston,  they  had  little  heart  to  make 
any  further  show  of  opposition  to  the  power  of  the  British 
Government.  Many  of  the  country  leaders,  when  detach- 
ments of  the  conquering  troops  were  sent  among  them,  un- 
resistingly gave  up  their  arms,  and  took  Royal  protecdon 
— among  whom  were  General  Andrew  Williamson,  Gen- 
eral Isaac  Huger,  Colonel  Andrew  Pickens,  Colonel  Peter 
Horry,  Colonel  James  Mayson,  Colonel  LeRoy  Hammond, 
Colonel  John  Thomas,  Sr.,  Colonel  Isaac  Hayne,  Major 
John  Postell,  Major  John  Purvis,  and  many  others.  Sumter 
braved  the  popular  tide  for  submission,  retired  alone  before 
the  advancing  foe,  leaving  his  home  to  the  torch  of  the 
enemy,  and  his  helpless  family  without  a  roof  to  cover 
their  defenceless  heads,  or  a  morsel  of  food  for  their  susten- 
ance ;  while  Marion,  who  was  accidently  injured  at  Charles- 
ton, was  conveyed  from  the  city  before  its  final  environment, 
and  was  quietly  recuperating  in  some  sequestered  place  in 
the  swamps  of  the  lower  part  of  the  country.  And,  so  far 
as  South  Carolina  was  concerned, 

"  Hope  for  a  season  bade  the  world  farewell." 



1741  to  May,  1780. 

Early  Life  of  Palrick  Ferguson. — Brandywine  Battle — Refrains  from 
ShootingW'ashington —  Wounded. —  Conducts  Little  Egg  Harbor  Ex- 
pedition.—Nearly  Killed  by  an  Accidental  Attack  by  his  own  Friends. 
— -Biggin  Bridge  and  Monk's  Corner  Affair. — Resents  Insults  to 
Ladies, — Siege  of  Charleston. 

No  man,  perhaps,  of  his  rank  and  years,  ever  attained 
more  military  distinction  in  his  day  than  Patrick  Ferguson. 
As  his  name  will  hereafter  figure  so  prominently  in  this 
narrative,  it  is  but  simple  justice  to  his  memory,  and  alike 
due  to  the  natural  curiosity  of  the  reader,  that  his  career 
should  be  as  fully  and  impartially  portrayed  as  the  materials 
will  permit. 

He  was  the  second  son  of  James  Ferguson,  afterward 
Lord  Pitfour,  of  Pitfour,  an  eminent  advocate,  and  for 
twelve  years  one  of  the  Scotch  Judges,  and  was  born  in 
Aberdeenshire,  Scotland,  in  1744.  His  mother  was  Anne 
Murray,  daughter  of  Alexander,  Lord  Elibank.  His  father, 
and  his  uncle,  James  Murray,  Lord  Elibank,  were  regarded 
as  men  of  large  culture,  equal,  in  erudition  and  genius,  to 
the  authors  of  the  Scottish  Augustan  age.  Having  acquired 
an  early  education,  "young  Ferguson,"  says  a  British 
writer,  "sought  fame  by  a  different  direction,  but  was  of 
equally  vigorous  and  brilliant  powers.''''  When  only  in  his 
fifteenth  year,  a  commission  was  purchased  for  him,  and  he 
entered  the  army  July  twelfth,  1759,  ^^  ^  Cornet,  in  the  second 
or  Royal  North  British  Dragoons,  serving  in  the  wars  of 
Flanders  and  Germany,  wherein  he  distinguished  himself 
by  a   courage   as    cool    as   it   was  determined.     He  soon 


evinced  the  great  purpose  of  his  life — to  become  conspic- 
uously beneficial  by  professional  skill  and  effort. 

Young  Ferguson  joined  the  army  in  Germany  soon 
after  the  engagement  on  the  plains  of  Minden.  Some  skir- 
mishing took  place  in  the  subsequent  part  of  that  year.  On 
the  thirtieth  of  June,  1760,  the  Dragoons,  to  which  he  was 
attached,  with  other  corps,  drove  the  French  cavalry  from 
the  field,  and  chased  their  infantry  in  disorder  through 
Warbourg,  and  across  the  Rymel  river,  gaining  from  the 
Commander-in-Chief  the  compliment  of  having  performed 
"  prodigies  of  valor."  On  the  twenty-second  of  August,  the 
Dragoons  defeated  a  French  party  near  Zierenberg,  making 
a  brilliant  charge,  and  deciding  the  contest.  In  the  follow- 
ing month  they  captured  Zierenberg,  with  two  cannon  and 
three  hundred  prisoners.  During  the  year  1761,  the 
Dragoons  were  similarly  employed ;  but  suffered  much 
from  the  bad  quality  of  the  water.  Ferguson  becoming  dis- 
abled by  sickness,  was  sent  home,  and  remained  the  most 
of  the  time  in  England  and  Scotland  from  1762  until  1768. 

On  the  first  of  September,  in  the  latter  year,  a  commis- 
sion of  Captain  was  purchased  for  him  in  the  seventieth 
regiment  of  foot,  then  stationed  in  the  Caribbee  Islands,  in 
the  West  Indies,  whither  he  repaired,  and  performed  im- 
portant service  in  quelhng  an  insurrection  of  the  Caribs  on 
the  Island  of  St.  Vincent.  These  Caribs  were  a  mixture  of 
the  African  with  the  native  Indian  tribes  ;  they  were  brave, 
expert  in  the  use  of  fire-arms,  and  their  native  fastnesses 
had  greatly  aided  them  in  their  resistance  to  the  Govern- 
ment.    The  troops  suffered  much  in  this  service. 

The  regiment  remained  in  the  Caribbee  Islands  till  1773. 
About  this  period.  Captain  Ferguson  was  stationed  a  while 
in  the  peaceful  garrison  of  Hahfax,  in  Nova  Scotia  ;  and 
disdaining  inglorious  ease,  he  embarked  for  England,  where 
he  assiduously  employed  his  time  in  acquiring  military 
knowledge  and  science.  When  the  disputes  between  the 
Mother   country  and  her   Colonies    were   verging   toward 


hostilities,  the  boasted  skill  of  the  Americans  in  the  use  of 
the  rifle,  was  regarded  as  an  object  of  terror  to  the  British 
troops.  These  rumors  operated  on  the  genius  of  Ferguson, 
and  he  invented  a  new  species  of  rifle,  which  could  be 
loaded  with  greater  celerity,  and  fired  with  more  precision 
than  any  then  in  use.  He  could  load  his  newly  constructed 
gun  at  the  breech,  without  using  the  ramrod,  and  with  such 
quickness  and  repetition  as  to  fire  seven  times  in  a  minute. 
He  was  regarded  as  the  best  rifle  shot  in  the  British 
army,  if  not  the  best  marksman  living — excepting,  possi- 
bly, his  old  associate,  George  Hanger  ;'^  and  in  adroitness 
and   celerity  in  loading   and  firing,   whether   prostrate   or 

*This  possible  exception  should  be  somewhat  qualified.  The  British  writers,  including 
several  who  knew  whereof  they  wrote,  unite  in  ascribing  this  high  character  to  Ferguson's 
skill  in  the  use  of  his  improved  rifle.  Major  Hanger,  in  his  Life  and  Opinions^  written 
after  Ferguson  had  been  twenty  years  in  his  grave,  claims  not  simply  equal,  but  superior 
skill.  The  redoubtable  Major  relates,  with  no  little  naivete,  this  ludicrous  anecdote,  as 
occurring  in  New  York  City,  in  1782,  when  Sir  Guy  Carleton  had  become  Commander-in- 
Chief  of  the  British  forces.  Sitting  opposite  the  Major  at  dinner  one  day.  Sir  Guy  said  : 
"  Major  Hanger,  I  have  been  told  that  you  are  a  most  skilful  marksman  with  a  rifle-gun — I 
have  heard  of  astonishing  feats  that  you  have  performed  in  shooting."  Thanking  him  for 
the  compliment,  I  told  his  Excellency,  that  "I  was  vain  enough  to  say,  with  truth,  that 
many  officers  in  the  army  had  witnessed  my  adroitness.  I  then  began  to  inform  Sir  Guy 
how  my  old  deceased  friend,  Colonel  Ferguson,  and  myself,  had  practiced  together,  who,  for 
skill  and  knowledge  of  that  weapon,  had  been  so  celebrated,  and  that  Ferguson  had  ever 
acknowledged  the  superiority  of  my  skill  to  his,  after  one  particular  day's  practice,  when 
I  had  shot  three  balls  into  one  hole."  Sir  Guy  replied  to  this  ;  "  I  know  you.  are  very 
expert  in  this  art."  Now,  had  T  been  quiet,  and  satisfied  with  the  compliment  the  Com- 
mander-in-Chief paid  me,  and  not  pushed  the  matter  further,  it  had  been  well  for  me  ;  but  I 
replied;  "Yes,  Sir  Guy.  I  really  have  reduced  the  art  of  shooting  with  a  rifle  to  such  a 
nicety,  that,  at  a  moderate  distance,  I  can  kill  a  flea  with  a  single  ball."  At  this,  Sir  Guy 
began  to  stare  not  a  little,  and  seemed  to  indicate  from  the  smile  on  his  countenance,  that  he 
thought  I  had  rather  out-stepped  my  usual  out-doings  in  the  art.  Observing  this,  I  respect- 
fully replied:  "I  see  by  your  Excellency's  countenance  that  you  seem  doubtful  of  the 
singularity  and  perfection  of  my  art  ;  but  if  I  may  presume  so  much,  as  to  dare  offer  a  wager 
to  my  Commander-in-Chief.  I  will  bet  your  Excellency  five  guineas  that  I  kill  a  fllea  with  a 
single  ball  once  in  eight  shots,  at  eight  yards."  Sir  Guy  replied  :  "  My  dear  Major,  I  am 
not  given  to  lay  wagers,  but  for  once  I  will  bet  you  five  guineas,  provided  you  will  let  the 
flea  hop."  A  loud  laugh  ensued  at  the  table  ;  and.  after  laughing  heartily  myself,  1  placed 
my  knuckle  under  the  table,  and  striking  it  from  beneath,  said  :  ''  Sir  Guy,  I  knock  under, 
and  will  never  speak  of  my  skill  in  shooting  with  a  rifle-gun  again  before  you." 

Neither  Ferguson  nor  Hanger  were  aware  of  a  remarkable  youth  at  that  time  in  the 
Wheeling  region.  Lewis  Wetzel,  who  had  learned  to  load  but  a  common  rifle  as  he  sped 
swiftly  through  the  woods  with  a  pack  of  Indians  at  his  heels.  Killing  one  of  a  party,  four 
others  singled  out,  determined  to  catch  alive  the  bold  young  warrior.  First,  one  fell  a  vic- 
tim to  his  unerring  rifle,  then  another,  and  finally  a  third,  in  the  race  for  life;  when  the 
only  survivor  stopped  short,  gave  a  yell  of  despair  and  disappointment,  saying:  "No 
catch  dat  man — gun  always  loaded." 


erect,  he  is  said  to  have  excelled  the  best  American  fron- 
tiersman, or  even  the  expert  Indian  of  the  forest.  He  often 
practiced,  and  exhibited  his  dexterity  in  the  use  of  the  rifle, 
both  at  Black  Heath  and  Woolwich.  Such  was  his  exe- 
cution in  firing,  that  it  almost  exceeded  the  bounds  of 
credibilitjr,  having  very  nearlj'  brought  his  aim  at  an  ob- 
jective point  almost  to  a  mathematical  certainty. 

On  the  first  of  June,  1776,  Captain  Ferguson  made  some 
rifle  experiments  at  Woolwich,  in  the  presence  of  Lord 
Townshend,  master  of  ordnance.  Generals  Amherst  and 
Hawley,  and  other  officers  of  high  rank  and  large  military 
experience.  Notwithstanding  a  heavy  rain,  and  a  high  wind, 
he  fired  during  the  space  of  four  or  five  minutes,  at  the  rate  of 
four  shots  per  minute,  at  a  target  two  hundred  }-ards  distance. 
He  next  fired  six  shots  in  a  minute.  He  also  fired,  while 
advancing  at  the  rate  of  four  miles  per  hour,  four  times  in  a 
minute.  He  then  poured  a  bottle  of  water  into  the  pan  and 
barrel  of  the  rifle  when  loaded,  so  as  to  wet  every  grain  of 
powder ;  and,  in  less  than  half  a  minute,  he  fired  it  off,  as 
well  as  ever,  without  extracting  the  ball.  Lastly,  he  hit  the 
bull's  eye  target,  lying  on  his  back  on  the  ground.  Incredi- 
ble as  it  might  seem,  considering  the  variations  of  the  wind, 
and  the  wetness  of  the  weather,  he  missed  the  target  only 
three  times  during  the  whole  series  of  experiments.  These 
military  dignitaries  were  not  onty  satisfied  but  astonished 
at  the  perfection  of  both  his  rifle  and  his  practice.  On  one 
of  these  occasions,  George  the  Thii-d  honored  him  with  his 
presence  ;  and,  towards  the  close  of  the  year,  a  patent  was 
granted  for  all  his  improvements. 

According  to  the  testimony  of  eye-witnesses,  he  would 
check  his  horse,  let  the  reins  fall  upon  the  animal's  neck, 
draw  a  pistol  from  his  holster,  toss  it  aloft,  catch  it  as  it  fell, 
aim,  and  shoot  the  head  off  a  bird  on  an  adjacent  fence.* 
"It  is  not  certain,"  says  the  British   Annual  Register  for 

*  General  J.  W,  D.  DePeyster's  King's  Mountain,  in  Historical  Magazine  March  1869, 
p.  100. 


1 781,  "  that  these  improvements  produced  all  the  effect  in 
real  service,  whicli  had  been  expected  from  those  astonishing 
specimens  of  them  that  were  displayed  in  England." 

Anxious  to  take  an  active  part  in  the  American  war,  a 
hundred  select  men  were  chosen  for  his  command,  whom 
he  took  unwearied  pains  to  instruct  in  the  dextrous  use  of 
his  newly  invented  rifle.  In  the  spring  of  1777,  he  was 
sent  to  America — to  him,  a  much  coveted  service.  Joining 
the  main  army  under  Sir  Henry  Clinton,  he  was  placed  at 
the  head  of  a  corps  of  riflemen,  picked  from  the  different 
regiments,  and  soon  after  participated,  under  Sir  William 
Howe,  in  the  battle  of  Brandy  wine,  on  the  eleventh  of 
September.  ■ '  General  Knyphausen,"  says  a  British  writer, 
"  with  another  division,  marched  to  Chad's  Ford,  against 
the  Provincials  who  were  placed  there.  In  this  service  the 
German  General  experienced  very  important  assistance  from 
a  corps  of  riflemen  commanded  by  Captain  Patrick  Fer- 
guson, whose  meritorious  conduct  was  acknowledged  by 
the  whole  British  army.'' 

In  a  private  letter  from  Captain  Ferguson,  to  his  kins- 
man. Dr.  Adam  Ferguson,  he  details  a  very  curious  incident, 
which  occurred  while  he  lay,  with  his  riflemen,  in  the  skirt 
of  a  wood,  in  front  of  Knyphausen's  division.  "  We  had 
not  lain  long,"  says  Captain  Ferguson,  "  when  a  Rebel  of- 
ficer, remarkable  by  a  hussar  dress,  passed  towards  our 
army,  within  a  hundred  yards  of  my  right  flank,  not  per- 
ceiving us.  He  was  followed  by  another,  dressed  in  dark 
green  and  blue,  mounted  on  a  bay  horse,  with  a  remarkably 
high  cocked  hat.  I  ordered  three  good  shots  to  steal  near 
to  and  fire  at  them  ;  but  the  idea  disgusting  me,  I  recalled 
the  order.  The  hussar,  in  returning,  made  a  circuit,  but 
the  other  passed  within  a  hundred  yards  of  us,  upon  which 
I  advanced  from  the  wood  towards  him.  Upon  my  calling, 
he  stopped;  but  after  looking  atme,  he  proceeded.  I  again 
drew  his  attention,  and  made  signs  to  him  to  stop,  levelling 
my  piece  at  him  ;  but  he  slowly  cantered  awaj^     As  I  was 


within  that  distance,  at  which,  in  the  quickest  firing,  I 
could  have  lodged  half  a  dozen  balls  in  or  about  him,  betbre 
he  was  out  of  my  reach,  I  had  only  to  determine  ;  but  it 
was  not  pleasant  to  fire  at  the  back  of  an  unoffending  in- 
di^'idual,  who  was  acquitting  hiinself  very  coolly  of  his 
duty — so  I  let  him  alone.  The  day  after,  I  had  been  telling 
this  story  to  some  wounded  officers  who  lay  in  the  same 
room  with  me,  when  one  of  the  surgeons,  who  had  been 
dressing  the  wounded  Rebel  officers,  came  in,  and  told  us, 
that  they  had  been  informing  him  that  General  Washington 
was  all  the  morning  with  the  light  troops,  and  only  attended 
by  a  French  officer  in  hussar  dress,  he  himself  dressed  and 
mounted  in  every  point  as  above  described.  [ aninot sorry 
that  I  did  not  know  at  the  lime  who  it  z^as.'"* 

A  British  writer  suggestively  remarks,  in  this  connection, 
that,  "unfortunately  Ferguson  did  not  personally  know 
Washington,  otherwise  the  Rebels  would  have  had  a  new 
General  to  seek."  Flad  Washington  fallen,  it  is  difficult  to 
calculate  its  probable  effect  upon  the  result  of  the  struggle  of 
the  American  people.  Flow  slight,  oftentimes,  are  the  inci- 
dents which,  in  the  course  of  events,  seem  to  give  direction  to 
the  most  momentous  concerns  of  the  human  race.  This  sin- 
gular impulse  of  Ferguson,  illustrates,  in  a  forcible  manner, 
the  over-ruling  hand  of  Providence  in  directing  the  operation 
of  a  man's  mind  when  he  himself  is  least  of  all  aware  of  it. 

There  is,  however,  some  doubt  whether  it  was  really 
Washington  whom  Ferguson  was  too  generous  to  profit  by 
his  advantage.  James  Fenimore  Cooper  relates,  in  the 
New  York  Mirror,  of  April  sixteenth,  183 1 ,  on  the  authority 
of  his  late  father-in-law.  Major  John  P.  DeLancey,  some 
interesting  facts,  corroborating  the  main  features  of  the 
story.  DeLancey  was  the  second  in  command  of  Fergu- 
son's riflemen,   and  had  seen  Washington  in  Philadelphia 

*  Percy  Anecdotes,  Harper's  edition,  ii,  52  ;  British  Annual  Ke^^isier,  1781,  51  ;  Political 
MaE;nzine,  1781.  60;  Hist,  of  IVar  in  America,  n\,  149;  Andrews'  Hist  0/ the  War.  iv.  84; 
James'  I,ife  0/  Marion.  76-77;  Irvinjr's  Washington,  iv,  51-52;  Ttiiy's  Pennsylvania  Hist. 
Colls.,  213;  National  Jntelligeticer,  May,  1851. 


the  year  before  the  commencement  of  the  war.  "  During 
the  manoeuvres  which  preceded  the  battle  of  Brandy  wine,'' 
said  Mr.  Cooper,  "these  riflemen  were  kept  skirmishing 
in  advance  of  one  of  the  British  columns.  They  had  crossed 
some  open  ground,  in  which  Ferguson  was  wounded  in  the 
arm,  and  had  taken  a  position  in  the  skirts  of  a  thick  wood. 
While  Captain  DeLancej^  was  occupied  in  arranging  a  sling 
lor  Ferguson's  wounded  arm,  it  was  reported  that  an  Ameri- 
can officer  of  rank,  attended  orAj  by  a  mounted  orderly, 
had  ridden  into  the  open  ground,  and  was  then  within  point- 
blank  rifle  shot.  Two  or  three  of  the  best  marksmen 
stepped  forward,  and  asked  leave  to  bring  him  down.  Fer- 
guson peremptoril}^  refused ;  but  he  went  to  the  wood,  and 
showine  himself,  menaced  the  American  with  several  rifles, 
while  he  called  to  him,  and  made  signs  to  him  to  come  in. 
The  mounted  officer  saw  his  enemies,  drew  his  reins,  and 
sat  looking  at  them  attentively  for  a  few  moments. 

"A  sergeant,"  continues  Mr.  Cooper,  "now  offered  to 
hit  the  Iiorse  without  injuring  the  rider,  but  Ferguson  still 
withheld  his  consent,  affirming  that  it  was  Washington  re- 
connoitering,  and  that  he  would  not  be  the  instrument  of 
placing  the  life  of  so  great  a  man  in  jeopardy  by  so  unfair 
means.  The  horseman  turned  and  rode  slowly  away.  To 
his  last  moment,  Ferguson  maintained  that  the  officer  whose 
life  he  had  spared  was  Washington.  I  have  often  heard 
Captain  DeLancey  relate  these  circumstances,  and  though 
he  never  pretended  to  be  sure  of  the  person  of  the  unknown 
horseman,  it  was  his  opinion,  from  some  particulars  of  dress 
and  stature,  that  it  was  the  Count  Pulaski.  Though  in 
error  as  'o  the  person  of  the  individual  whom  he  spared, 
the  merit  of  Major  Ferguson  is  not  cit  all  diminished  "  by 
its  supposed  correction. 

Captain  Ferguson,  as  we  have  seen,  encountered  some 
American  sharp-shooters  in  the  battle  as  keen  and  skillful 
as  himself  in  the  use  of  the  riffe,  and  received  a  dangerous 
wound  which  so  shattered  his  right  arm,  as  to  forever  after 


render  it  useless.*  During  the  period  of  his  unfitness  for 
service,  General  Howe  distributed  his  riflemen  among  other 
corps  ;  but  on  his  recovery,  he  again  embodied  them,  and 
renewed  his  former  active  career.  When  satisfied  that  he 
would  never  regain  the  use  of  his  right  hand,  he  practiced, 
and  soon  acquired  the  use  of  his  sword,  with  the  left.  A 
writer  in  the  Political  J\/agazine  for  1781,  states  that  Fer- 
guson was  in  the  battle  of  Germantown,  on  the  fourth  of 
October  ensuing — was  there  wounded,  and  there  came  near 
bringing  his  rifle  to  bear  on  Washington  ;  but  it  is  not  prob- 
able that  he  was  sufficiently  recovered  of  his  severe  wound 
received  at  Brandywine,  to  have  taken  the  field  three  weeks 
afterwards  —  besides,  the  authorities  show,  that  it  was  at 
Brandywine  where  he  so  narrowly  escaped  the  temptation 
to  tiy  the  accuracy  of  his  rifle  on  the  American  Commander- 
in-Chief,  or  some  other  prominent  officer,  making  observa- 
tions, and  where  he  was  so  grievously  wounded. 

When  the  British  evacuated  Philadelphia,  in  June,  I77S> 
Captain  E'erguson  accompanied  the  retiring  forces  to  New 
York,  and,  of  course,  participated  in  the  battle  of  Mon- 
mouth on  the  way.  It  was  fought  on  one  of  the  hottest  days 
of  the  summer,  when  many  of  the  British  soldiers  died  from 
the  effects  of  the  heat.  For  some  time  after  reaching  New 
York,  Captain  Ferguson  and  his  rifle  corps  were  not  called 
on  to  engage  in  any  active  service. 

Little  Egg  Harbor,  on  the  eastern  coast  of  New  Jersey, 
had  long  been  noted  as  a  place  of  rendezvous  for  American 
privateers,  which  preyed  largely  upon  British  commerce. 
A  vast  amount  of  property  had  been  brought  into  this  port, 
captured  from  the  enemy.  "  To  destroy  this  nest  of  rebel 
pirates,"  as  a  British  writer  termed  it,  an  expedidon  was 
fitted  out  from  New  York,  the  close  of  September,  1778, 
composed  of  three  hundred  regulars,  and  a  body  of  one 
hundred  Royalist  volunteers,  all  under  the  command  of  Cap- 

*'S,as.l!,OTi%  Naval  and  Military  Memoirs,    vi,    83;    Mackenzie's    Strictures   on    Tarle- 
ton,  23. 


tain  Ferguson.  Captain  Henry  Colins,  of  the  Navy,  trans- 
ported the  troops  in  eight  or  ten  armed  vessels,  and  shared 
in  the  enterprise,  From  untoward  weather,  they  were  long 
at  sea.  General  Washington,  hearing  of  the  expedition, 
dispatched  Count  Pulaski  and  his  Legion  cavalry,  and  at 
the  same  time  sent  an  express  to  Tuckerton,  as  did  also 
Governor  Livingston,  giving  information,  so  that  four  priva- 
teers put  to  sea  and  escaped,  while  others  took  refuge  up 
the  Little  Egg  Harbor  river.  Ferguson's  party  reached  the 
Harbor  on  the  afternoon  of  the  fifth  of  October,  and, 
taking  his  smaller  craft,  pushed  twent}^  miles  up  the  stream 
to  Chestnut  Neck,  where  were  several  vessels,  about  a  dozen 
houses,  with  stores  for  the  reception  of  the  prize  goods, 
and  accommodations  for  the  privateers  men.  Here  were 
some  works  erected  for  the  protection  of  the  place,  and  a 
few  men  occupying  them ;  but  no  artillery  had  yet  been 
placed  there  The  prize  vessels  were  hastily  scuttled  and 
dismantled,  and  the  small  American  party  easily  driven  into 
the  woods,  when  Captain  Ferguson's  force  demolished  the 
batteries,  burning  ten  vessels  and  the  houses  in  the  village. 
The  British  in  this  aflair  had  none  killed,  and  but  a  single 
soldier  wounded.  Had  he  arrived  sooner,  Ferguson  in- 
tended to  have  pushed  forward  with  celerity  twenty  miles 
farther,  to  "The  Forks,"  which  was  accounted  only  thirty- 
five  miles  from  Philadelphia.  But  the  alarm  had  been 
spread  through  the  country,  and  the  local  militia  had  been 
reinforced  by  Pulaski's  cavalrjf,  and  five  field  pieces  of 
Colonel  Proctor's  artillery  ;  so  the  idea  of  reaching  and 
destroying  the  stores  and  small  craft  there,  had  to  be  aban- 

Returning  the  next  day,  October  the  seventh,  down  the 
river,  they  reached  two  of  their  armed  sloops,  which  had  got 
aground  on  their  upward  passage,  and  were  still  fast. 
They  were  lightened,  and  got  off  the  next  morning.  Dur- 
ing the  delay,  Captain  Ferguson  employed  his  troops, 
under  cover  of  the  gunboats,  in  an  excursion  on  the  north 


shore,  to  destroy  some  principal  salt  works,  also  some 
stores,  dwellings,  and  Tucker's  Mill ;  these  were  sacked 
and  laid  in  ashes^all,  as  was  asserted  by  the  British,  being 
the  property  of  persons  concerned  in  privateering,  or 
"whose  activity  in  the  cause  of  America,  and  unrelenting 
persecution  of  the  Loyalists,  marked  them  out  as  the 
objects  of  vengeance."  As  those  persons  were  pointed  out 
by  the  New  Jersey  Tory  volunteers,  who  accompanied  the 
expedition,  we  may  well  imagine  that  private  pique,  and 
neighborhood  feuds,  entered  largely  into  these  proscriptions. 

To  cover  Ferguson's  expedition,  and  distract  the  attention 
of  Washington,  Sir  Henry  Clinton  had  detached  Lord  Corn- 
wallis  with  five  thousand  men  into  New  Jersey,  and  General 
Knyphausen  with  three  thousand  into  Westchester  county. 
Learning  of  Colonel  Baylor's  dragoons  being  at  old  Tappan, 
Cornwallis  selected  General  Grey  to  surprise  them  which  he 
effected  much  in  the  same  manner  as  Ferguson  subsequently 
struck  Pulaski's  infantrj^,  unawares  —  eleven  having  been 
killed  outright,  twenty-five  mangled  with  repeated  thrusts, 
some  receiving  ten,  twelve,  and  even  sixteen  wounds.  It 
was  a  merciless  treatment  of  men  who  sued  for  quarter. 
Among  the  wounded  were  Colonel  Baylor  and  Major  Clough 
— the  latter,  mortally;  and  about  forty  prisoners  taken, 
mostly  through  the  humane  interposition  of  one  of  Grey's 
Captains,  whose  feelings  revolted  at  the  orders  of  his  san- 
guinary commander — the  same  commander  who  had,  the 
year  before,  performed  a  similarly  bloody  enterprise  against 
Wayne,  at  Paoli. 

Recalling  these  predatory  parties  to  New  York,  Sir 
Henry  Clinton  directed  Admiral  Gambler  to  write  Captain 
Colins  in  their  joint  behalf,  that  the)^  thought  it  unsafe  for 
him  and  Captain  Ferguson  to  remain  longer  in  New  Jersey. 
But  Captain  Colins'  vessels  being  wind-bound  for  several 
days,  gave  Captain  Ferguson  time  for  another  enterprise. 
On  the  evening  of  the  thirteenth  of  October,  some  deserters 
from  Pulaski's  Legion  gave  information  of  that  corps  being 


posted,  within  striking  distance,  eleven  miles  up  the  river; 
when  Ferguson  formed  the  design  of  attempting  their  sur- 

The  chief  of  these  deserters  was  one  Juliet,  a  renegade 
from  the  Hessians  the  preceding  winter,  who  was  sent  by  the 
Board  of  War  to  Pulaski,  without  a  commission  indeed, 
but  with  orders  to  permit  him  to  do  the  duty  of  a  Sub-Lieu- 
tenant in  the  Legion.  This  man  was  treated  with  such  dis- 
respect by  Lieutenant-Colonel  Baron  De  Bosen,  whose  high 
sense  of  honor  led  him  to  despise  a  person,  who,  even  though 
a  commissioned  officer,  could  be  guilty  of  deserting  his 
colors,  that  the  culprit  determined  to  revenge  himself  in  a 
manner  that  could  not  have  been  foreseen  or  imagined. 
Under  pretence  of  fishing,  he  one  day  left  the  camp  with 
five  others,  and  as  thev  did  not  return  at  the  proper  time, 
and  it  could  not  be  supposed  that  Juliet  would  have  the  har- 
dihood to  rejoin  the  enemy,  they  were  thought  to  have  been 
drowned.  But  Juliet  had  the  duplicity  to  debauch  three  of 
the  soldiers,  and  the  other  two  were  forced  to  go  with  them. 

Pulaski's  corps,  as  the  deserters  correctly  stated,  con- 
sisted of  three  companies  of  infantiy,  occupying  three  houses 
by  themselves,  under  the  Lieutenant-Colonel  Baron  De 
Bosen  ;  while  Piilaski,  with  a  troop  of  cavalry,  was  sta- 
tioned some  distance  beyond,  with  a  detachment  of  artillery, 
having  a  brass  field  piece.  Accordingly  Fergvison  selected 
two  hundred  and  fifty  men,  partly  marines,  leaving  in  boats 
at  eleven  o'clock  on  the  night  of  the  fourteenth ;  and,  after 
rowing  ten  miles,  they  reached  a  bridge  at  four  o'clock  the 
next  morning,  within  a  mile  of  Pulaski's  infantry.  The 
bridge  was  seized,  so  as  to  cover  their  retreat,  and  fifty  men 
left  for  its  defence.  DeBosen's  infantry  companies  were  sur- 
rounded and  completely  surprised,  and  attacked  as  they 
emerged  from  their  houses.  "It  being  a  night  attack," 
says  Ferguson,  in  his  report,  "little  quai'ter  could,  of  course, 
be  given" — so  they  cut,  and  slashed,  and  bayoneted,  killing 
all  who  came  in  their  wajr,  and  taking  only  five  prisoners. 


The  Americans,  roused  from  their  shimbers,  fought  as  well 
as  they  could. 

The  hapless  Baron  De  Bosen,  on  the  first  alarm,  rushed 
out,  armed  with  his  sword  and  pistols  ;  and  though  he  was  a 
remarkabh'  stout  man,  and  fought  like  a  lion,  he  was  soon 
overpowered  by  numbers  and  killed.  So  far,  at  least,  as 
the  double-traitor,  Juliet,*  was  concerned,  revenge  on 
De  Bosen  seems  to  have  been  his  object ;  and  his  voice 
was  distinctly  heard  exclaiming,  amid  the  din  and  confusion 
of  the  strife:  "  This  is  the  Colonel — kill  him  !  "  De  Bosen's 
bod}'  was  found  pierced  with  baj-onets.  Lieutenant  De 
La  Borderie,  together  with  some  forty  of  the  men,  were  also 
among  the  slain.     It  was  a  sad  and  sanguinaiy  occurrence. 

On  the  first  alarm,  Pulaski  hastened  with  his  cavalrjr  to 
the  support  of  his  unfortunate  infantry,  when  the  British, 
hearing  the  clattering  hoofs,  giving  note  of  their  approach, 
fled  in  disorder,  leaving  behind  them  arms,  accoutrements, 
hats,  blades,  etc.  Pulaski  captvired  a  few  prisoners ;  but 
between  the  place  of  conflict  and  the  bridge  was  very 
swampy,  over  which  the  cavalry  could  scarcely  walk. 
Reaching  the  bridge,  they  found  the  plank  thrown  off,  to 
prevent  pursuit  by  the  cavahy.  The  riflemen,  and  some  of 
the  infantry,  however,  passed  over  on  the  string-pieces,  and 
fired  some  volleys  on  the  rear  of  the  retreating  foe,  which 
they  returned.  "We  had  the  advantage,"  says  Pulaski, 
"and  made  them  run  again,  although  they  out-numbered 
us."  As  the  cavalry  could  not  pass  the  stream,  Pulaski 
recalled  his  pioneers  ;  and  he  adds,  in  his  report,  that  his 
party  cut  off  about  t^venty-five  of  Ferguson's  men  in  their 
retreat,  who  took  refuge  in  the  woods,  and  doubtless  subse- 
quently rejoined  their  friends.  Ferguson's  loss,  as  he 
reported  it,  was  two  killed,  three  wounded,  and  one  missing. 

*  Juliet  seems  not  to  have  been  crowned  with  honors  by  the  British  on  his  return,  A 
British  Diary  of  the  Revolution,  published  in  Vol,  iv  of  the  Historical  Magazine,  p,  136, 
under  date  Newport,  R.  I.,  January  irth,  1779,  states:  "In  the  fleet  from  Long  Island 
arrived  several  Hessians,  among  them  is  one  Lieutenant  Juliet,  of  the  Landgrave  regiment 
who  deserted  to  the  Provincials  when  the  Island  was  besieged  by  them,  and  then  went 
back  to  New  York.     He  is  under  aji  arrest." 


He  attempted  to  excuse  the  butchery  of  Pulaski's  unsus- 
pecting infantiy,  by  alleging  that  he  learned  from  the 
deserters,  who  came  to  him,  that  the  Count  had,  in  public 
orders,  forbade  all  granting  of  quarters — information  which 
proved  to  be  false,  and  which  Ferguson  should  never  have 
trusted,  especially  on  the  word  of  deserters.  It  is  credit- 
able, however,  to  his  humanity,  amid  the  excitements  and 
horrors  of  war,  that  he  refrained  from  wantonly  destroying 
the  houses  of  non-combatants,  though  they  sheltered  the 
personal  effects  of  his  enemies.  "  We  had  an  opportunity," 
sa3^s  Ferguson,  in  his  report  to  Sir  Henry  Clinton,  "of 
destro3dng  part  of  the  baggage  and  equipage  of  Pulaski's 
Legion,  by  burning  their  quarters,  but,  as  the  houses 
belonged  to  some  inoffensive  Quakers,  who,  I  am  afraid, 
have  sufficiently  suffered  already  in  the  confusion  of  a  night's 
scramble,  I  know.  Sir,  that  you  will  think  with  us,  that  the 
injury  to  be  thereby  done  to  the  enemy,  would  not  have 
compensated  for  the  sufferings  of  these  innocent  people." 

As  the  fleet  were  going  out  of  Little  Egg  Harbor,  the 
Zebra,  the  flag-ship,  grounded,  and  to  prevent  her  from 
falhng  into  the  hands  of  the  Americans,  Captain  Colins 
ordered  her  set  on  fire  ;  and  as  the  fire  reached  her  guns, 
thejr  were  discharged,  much  to  the  amusement  of  the  Amer- 
icans, who  beheld  the  conflagration.  Besides  their  military 
operations.  Judge  Jones,  the  Roj^alist  historian  of  New 
York,  states  of  Ferguson  and  his  men,  that  they  "plun- 
dered the  inhabitants,  burnt  their  houses,  their  churches, 
and  their  barns  ;  ruined  their  farms  ;  stole  their  cattle,  hogs, 
horses,  and  sheep,  and  then  triumphantly  returned  to  New 
York" — evidently  conve}nng  the  idea  that  this  mode  of 
warfare  was  not  honorable  to  those  who  ordered,  nor  to 
those  who  were  engaged  in  it. 

L-ving  denounces  Ferguson's  enterprise  as  "a  marauding 
expedition,  worthy  of  the  times  of  the  buccaneers."  Sir 
Henry  Clinton,  on  the  other  hand,  reported  it  to  the  Home 
Government,  as  a  "  success,   under   the  direction   of  that 


very  active  and  zealous  officer,  Ferguson,"  while  Admiral 
Gambler  pronounced  it  "  a  spirited  service."  Ferguson  fully 
accomplished  the  purpose  for  which  he  set  out — the  destruc- 
tion of  the  vessels,  stores,  and  works  at  Little  Egg  Harbor ; 
and,  in  addition,  infficted  a  severe  blow  on  a  portion  of 
Pulaski's  Lep'ion.* 

During  the  campaign  of  1779,  Captain  Ferguson  was 
engaged  in  several  predatory  incursions  along  the  coast, 
and  on  the  Hudson — having  been  stationed  awhile  at  Stony 
Point  before  its  capture  by  Wajme  ;  steadily  increasing  the 
confidence  of  his  superiors,  and  extorting  the  respect  of  the 
Americans  for  his  valor  and  enterprise.  On  the  twenty-fifth 
of  October,  in  this  year,  he  was  promoted  to  the  rank  of 
Major  in  the  second  battalion  of  the  seventy-first  regiment, 
or  Highland  Light  Infantry,  composed  of  Frasers,  Camp- 
bells, McArthurs,  McDonalds,  McLeods,  and  many  others 
of  the  finest  Scotch  laddies  in  the  British  service. 

When  Sir  Henrjr  Clinton  fitted  out  his  expedition  against 
Charleston,  at  the  close  of  1779,  he  very  naturally  selected 
Major  Ferguson  to  share  in  the  important  enterprise.  A 
corps  of  three  hundred  men,  called  the  American  Volunteers, 
was  assigned  for  his  command — he  having  the  choice  of 
both  officers  and  soldiers ;  and  for  this  special  service,  he 
had  given  him,  the-  rank  of  Lieutenant-Colonel.  At  his 
request,  Major  Hanger's  corps  of  two  hundred  Hessians 
were  to  be  joined  to  Ferguson's.  Early  in  February,  the 
seventy-first  regiment  and  Ferguson's  corps  were  sent  from 
Savannah  to  Augusta  ;  and,  early  in  March,  the  American 
Volunteers  for«ied  a  part  of  the  Georgia  troops,  who  were 
ordered,  under  General  Patterson,  to  march  towards  Charles- 
ton, and  join  the  main  force  under  Sir  Henry  Clinton. 

*Touchin,ar  this  Little  Egg  Harbor  expedition,  see  reports  of  Sir  Henry  Clinton.  Admi- 
ral Gambier,  Captains  Ferguson  and  Colins,  in  Ahnon  x.  150-56;  Pnlasl<i's  report,  Pennsyl- 
vania Packet,  October  20,  1778;  Rivington's  Royal  Gazette,  October  24,  1778;  Pol'tiral 
Miigazine,  1781,  p.  60:  I\Tarsha!!'s  ]Vas]ihigton,  revised  edition,  i,  270-71;  Re^ly  to  Jnelge 
Johnson,  vindicating  Count  Pulaski,  by  Paul  Tentalou.  senior  captain  in  PulaF^ki's  Legion, 
1826,  36-37;  Irving's  Washington,  iii.  472-75;  Bancroft's  History,  x,  152;  Lossing's  Field 
Book.  ii.  529;  Barber  &  Howes'  Nenn  Jersey,  108-9;  ^"^  Jones'  History  of  Nczv  York 
During  the  Revolutionary  IVar,  1,287. 


On  the  thirteenth  of  the  month,  Lieutenant-Colonel  Fer- 
guson, with  his  Volunteers,  and  Major  Cochrane,  with  the 
infantry  of  Tarleton's  Legion,  were  ordered  forward  to 
secure  the  passes  at  Bee  Creek,  Coosahatchie,  and  Tully 
Finny  bridges,  about  twenty-six  miles  in  advance  of  the 
army,  which  \\as  as  promptly  effected  as  the  obstacles  in 
the  way  would  permit.  It  was  a  toilsome  march  through 
swamps  and  difficult  passes,  having  frequent  skirmishes 
with  the  opposing  militia  of  the  country.  These  active  offi- 
cers, with  their  light  troops,  received  intelhgence  of  two 
parties  of  mounted  Americans  at  some  distance  in  advance, 
and  at  once  resolved  to  surprise  them  by  a  night  attack — a 
kind  of  service  for  which  Colonel  Ferguson  had  an  especial 
fitness,  and  in  which  he  took  unusual  delight. 

Arriving  at  nine  o'clock  in  the  evening  near  the  spot 
from  which  he  meant  to  dislodge  the  Americans,  at  Mc- 
Pherson's  plantation,  Ferguson  discovered  that  they  had 
decamped,  and  he  consequently  took  possession  of  their 
abandoned  position,  camping  there  for  the  night,  and 
awaiting  the  arrival  of  the  main  British  force,  who  were  to 
pass  near  it  the  next  morning.  Major  Cochrane,  with  his 
party,  piloted  hy  another  route,  through  swamps  and  by- 
ways, arrived,  before  morning,  just  in  front  of  Ferguson's 
camp  ;  and,  judging  by  the  fires  that  the  Americans  were 
still  there,  led  his  men  to  the  attack  with  fixed  bayonets. 
Ferguson,  expecting  that  the  American  party  might  return, 
had  his  picket  guard  out,  who,  seeing  the  approach  of  what 
they  regarded  as  an  enemy,  gave  the  alarm,  when  the 
Legion  rushed  upon  them,  driving  them  pell-mell  to  Fergu- 
son's camp,  where  the  aroused  American  Volunteers  were 
ready  to  receive  them.  "  Charge  I  "  was  the  word  on  both 
sides  ;  and,  for  a  little  season,  the  conflict  raged.  Ferguson, 
wielding  his  sword  in  his  left  hand,  defended  himself,  as 
well  as  he  could,  against  three  assailants,  who  opposed  him 
with  fixed  bayonets,  one  of  which  was  unfortunately  thrust 
through  his  left  arm.     When   on  the  point  of  falling,  amid 


the  confusion  and  clashing  of  arms,  Major  Cochrane  and 
Colonel  Ferguson,  almost  at  the  same  moment,  recognized 
each  other's  voices,  and  exerted  themselves  to  put  a  stop  to 
the  mistaken  conflict.  Two  of  Ferguson's  men,  and  one  of 
the  Legion,  were  killed  in  this  unhappy  affair,  and  several 
wounded  on  both  sides.  Lieutenant  McPherson,  of  the 
Legion,  received  ba3-onet  wounds  in  the  hand  and  shoulder. 

But  for  the  timely  recognition,  on  the  part  of  the  com- 
manders, of  the  mutual  mistake,  Colonel  Ferguson  would 
most  likely  have  lost  his  life — "a  life,"  says  Major  Hanger, 
"  equally  valuable  to  the  whole  army,  and  to  his  friends." 

"  It  was  melancholy  enough,"  wrote  a  participant  in  the 
affair,  near  three  weeks  afterwards,  "  to  see  Colonel  Fergu- 
son disabled  in  both  arms  ;  but,  thank  God,  he  is  perfectly 
recovered  again."  Tarleton  commends  "the  intrepidity 
and  presence  of  mind  of  the  leaders,"  in  this  casual  engage- 
ment, as  having  saved  their  respective  parties  from  a  more 
fatal  termination.  "The  whole  army  felt  for  the  gallant 
Ferguson,"  says  Hanger ;  and  the  peculiar  circumstances 
attending  this  unlucky  conflict,  long  furnished  the  camp  and 
bivouac  with  a  melancholy  topic  of  conversation.* 

The  fleet  having  crossed  the  bar,  and  gained  the  water 
command  thence  to  Charleston,  enabled  Sir  Henry  Clinton 
to  bestow  more  attention  than  he  had  hitherto  done,  to  cut- 
ting off  the  communications  of  the  Americans  between  the 
city  and  countrjr.  A  body  of  militia,  together  with  the 
remains  of  three  Continental  regiments  of  light  dragoons, 
led  by  Colonel  Washington  and  others,  and  all  under  the 
command  of  General  Huger,  were  stationed  at  Biggin 
Bridge,  near  Monk's  Corner,  about  thirty  miles  from 
Charleston.  To  destroy  or  disperse  this  party,  and  thus 
prevent  supplies  of  food  and  reinforcements  of  men  to  the 
beleaguered  citj^  was  a  capital  object  with  Sir  Henr}'  Clin- 
ton ;  and  its  immediate  execution  was  assigned  to  Colonel 

*Tarleton's  Campaigns,  7-8;  Mackenzie's  Strictures  on    I'-irlcton,  23;   Hanger's   Reply 
to  Mackenzie,  24-25  ;  Sie^e  0/  Charleston,  15S-SQ. 


Tarleton  and  his  Legion,  to  be  seconded  by  Lieutenant- 
Colonel  Ferguson  and  his  riflemen.  Tarleton  was  dashing, 
tireless,  and  unmerciful.  "Ferguson,"  sa}'S  Irving,  "was 
a  fit  associate  for  Tarleton,  in  hardy,  scrambling,  partisan 
enterprise  ;  equally  intrepid  and  determined,  but  cooler,  and 
more  open  to  impulses  of  humanity." 

As  a  night  march  had  been  judged  the  most  advisable, 
Tarleton  and  Ferguson  moved,  on  the  evening  of  April 
thirteenth,  from  Goose  creek,  half  way  from  Charleston,  to 
strike,  if  possible,  an  effective  blow  at  Huger's  camp.  Some 
distance  beyond,  a  negro  was  descried  attempting  to  leave 
the  road,  and  avoid  notice.  He  was  seized,  and  was  dis- 
covered to  be  a  servant  of  one  of  Huger's  officers.  A  letter 
was  taken  from  his  pocket,  written  by  his  master  the  pre- 
ceding afternoon,  which,  with  the  negro's  intelligence,  pur- 
chased for  a  few  dollars,  proved  a  fortunate  circumstance  for 
the  advancing  party.  The}'  learned  the  relative  positions  of 
Huger's  forces,  on  both  sides  of  Cooper  river,  and  had  in 
him  a  guide  to  direct  them  there,  through  unfrequented 
paths  and  by-ways. 

Destitute  of  patrols,  Huger  was,  in  effect,  taken  com- 
pletely by  surprise  ;  and  the  bold  and  sudden  onset,  about 
three  o'clock  in  the  morning  of  the  fourteenth,  quickly 
scattered  the  astonished  Americans.  They  had,  indeed, 
some  slight  notice  of  the  attack  ;  but  they  were  not  properly 
prepared  for  it.  The  cavalry  was  posted  on  the  side  of  the 
river  where  the  first  approach  was  made,  and  the  infantry  on 
the  opposite  bank.  "Although,"  says  Ramsay,  "the  com- 
manding officer  of  the  American  cavalry  had  taken  the  pre- 
caution of  having  his  horses  saddled  and  bridled,  and  the 
alarm  was  given  b}'  his  videttes,  posted  at  the  distance  of  a 
mile  in  front ;  yet,  being  entirely  unsupported  by  infantrjf, 
the  British  advanced  so  rapidly,  notwithstanding  the  opposi- 
tion of  the  advanced  guard,  that  they  began  their  attack  on 
the  main  body  before  they  could  put  themselves  in  a  posture 
of  defence."  Then  Major  Cochrane,  with  Tarleton' s  Legion, 


quickly  forced  the  passage  of  Biggin  Bridge,  and  drove 
General  Huger  and  the  infantry  before  him.  "  In  this 
affair,"  says  James,  "  Major  James  Conyers,  of  tiie  Ameri- 
cans, distinguished  himself  by  a  skillful  retreat,  and  by  call- 
ing oft'  the  attention  of  the  enemy  from  his  sleeping  friends 
to  himself.  In  this  surprise,  the  British  made  free  use  of 
the  bayonet ;  the  houses  in  Monk's  Corner,  then  a  village, 
were  afterwards  deserted,  but  long  bore  the  marks  of  deadly 
thrust  and  much  blood-shed." 

Several  officers,  who  attempted  to  defend  themselves, 
were  killed  or  wounded.  The  assailing  party  lost  but  one 
officer  and  two  privates  wounded,  with  five  horses  killed  or 
disabled.  General  Huger,  Colonel  Washington,  and  Major 
Jameson,  with  most  of  their  troops,  fled  to  the  adjacent 
swamps  and  thickets  ;  while  three  Captains,  one  Lieutenant, 
and  ten  privates  were  killed ;  one  Major,  one  Captain,  two 
Lieutenants,  and  fifteen  privates  were  wounded,  and  sixty- 
four  officers  and  men,  including  the  wounded,  were  made 
prisoners.  Some  two  hundred  horses,  from  thirty  to  forty 
wagons,  and  quite  a  supply  of  provisions  and  military 
stores,  were  among  the  trophies  if  the  victors.  If  it  was 
not  a  "  shameful  surprise,"  as  General  Moultrie  pro- 
nounced it,  it  was,  at  least,  a  very  distressing  affair  for  the 
Americans.  Poor  General  Huger,  and  his  aid,  John  Izard, 
remained  in  the  swamp  from  Friday  morning,  the  time  of 
the  surprise,  till  the  succeeding  Monday  ;  it  was  a  long  fast, 
and  the  exposure  produced  severe  sickness  on  the  part  of 
the  General,  causing  him  to  retire  awhile  from  the  service.* 

Among  the  American  wounded  was  Major  Vernier,  a 
French  officer,  who  commanded  the  remains  of  the  Legion 
of  Count  Casimir  Pulaski,  who  had  lost  his  life  at  Savan- 
nah the  preceding  autumn.  "  The  Major,"  says  Steadman, 
a  British  historian  and  eye-witness,  "was  mangled  in  the 
most  shocking  manner ;  he  had   several  wounds,  a  severe 

*  Ramsay's  Revolution,  ii,  64;  Moultrie's  Memoirs,  ii,  72;  Tarleton's  Campaigns,  15-17; 
Steadman's  American  War,  ii,  182-83;  James"  Life  of  Marion,  36-37;  Siege  of  Charleston, 
124,  164 ;  Simm's  South  Carolina  in  the  Revolution,  125,  138 ;  Irving's  Washington,  iv,  51-52. 


one  behind  his  eai".  This  unfortunate  officer  lived  several 
hours,  reprobating  the  Americans  for  their  conduct  on  this 
occasion,  and  even  in  his  last  moments  cursing  the  British 
for  their  barbarity,  in  having  refused  quarter  after  he  had 
s^irrendered.  The  writer  of  this,  who  was  ordered  on  this 
expedition,  afforded  everjr  assistance  in  his  power,  and  had 
the  Major  put  upon  a  table,  in  a  public  house  in  the  village, 
and  a  blanket  thrown  over  him.  In  his  last  moments, 
the  Major  was  frequently  insulted  by  the  privates  of  the 
Legion."  Such  merciless  treatment  of  a  dying  foe,  was 
eminently  befitting  the  savage  character  of  Tarleton  and 
his  men. 

British  historians  repel,  with  indignant  language,  the 
charge  of  permitting  the  violation  or  abuse  of  females  to 
go  unpunished ;  yet  Commissary  Steadman  relates  a  case 
highly  derogatory  of  the  conduct  of  some  of  Tarleton's 
Legion.  In  the  course  of  this  maraud,  several  of  the  dra- 
goons broke  into  the  house  of  Sir  John  Colleton,  in 
the  neighborhood  of  Monk's  Corner,  and  maltreated  and 
attempted  violence  upon  three  ladies  residing  there — one,  the 
wife  of  a  Charleston  physician,  a  most  delicate  and  beauti- 
ful woman,  was  most  barbarously  treated ;  another  lady 
received  one  or  two  sword  wounds  ;  while  an  unmarried 
lady,  a  sister  of  a  prominent  Am.erican  Major,  was  also 
shamefully  misused.  They  all  succeeded  in  making  their 
escape  to  Monk's  Corner,  where  they  were  protected  ;  and 
a  carriage  being  provided,  they  were  escorted  to  a  house  in 
that  region.  The  guilty  dragoons  were  apprehended,  and 
brought  to  camp,  where,  by  this  time,  Colonel  Webster  had 
arrived  and  taken  the  command.  "  Colonel  Ferguson," 
says  Steadman,  "was  for  putting  the  dragoons  to  instant 
death  ;  but  Colonel  Webster  did  not  conceive  that  his  pow- 
ers extended  to  that  of  holding  a  general  court-martial.* 
■ • 

Mt  must  not  be  inferred  that  Colonel  Webster,  who  was  the  next  year  killed  at 
Guilford,  was  indifferent  to  such  offences;  for,  we  are  assured,  that  to  an  officer  under  his 
command,  who  had  so  far  forgotten  himself  as  to  offer  an  insult  to  a  lady,  he  hurled  many 
a  bitter  imprecation,  and  had  him  immediately  turned  out  of  the  regiment. — Political 
Magazine^  1781,  342. 


The  prisoners  were,  however,  sent  to  head-quarters,  and,  I 
believe,  were  afterwards  tried  and  wliipped."  This  decisive 
action  on  the  part  of  Colonel  Ferguson  was  highly  credit- 
able to  his  head  and  his  heart.  "We  honor,"  says  Irving, 
"  the  rough  soldier,  Ferguson,  for  the  fiat  of  '  instant  death,' 
with  which  he  would  have  requited  the  most  infamous 
and  dastardly  outrage  that  brutalizes  warfare."  Tarleton, 
possessing  none  of  the  finer  feelings  of  human  nature, 
failed  to  second  Fergvison's  efforts  to  bring  the  culprits 
to  punishment;  for,  "afterwards,  in  England,  he  had  the 
effrontery  to  boast,  in  the  presence  of  a  lady  of  respecta- 
bility, that  he  had  killed  more  men,  and  ravished  more 
women,  than  any  man  in  America.''  * 

The  long  protracted  siege  of  Charleston  was  now  draw- 
ing to  a  close.  In  the  latter  part  of  April,  Colonel  Fer- 
guson marched  down  with  a  party,  and  captured  a  small 
redoubt  at  Haddrell's  Point,  half  a  mile  above  Sullivan's 
Island ;  and,  on  the  seventh  of  May,  he  obtained  permission 
to  attack  Fort  Moultrie,  and  while  upon  the  march  for  that 
object,  he  received  intelligence  of  the  surrender  of  the  Fort 
to  Captain  Hudson,  who  was  relieved  of  the  command 
by  Colonel  Fei-guson.f  And  shortly  thereafter,  General 
Lincoln  gave  up  the  city  he  had  so  long  and  so  valiantly 

*Steadman's  American  War,  ii,  183;  Irving's  Washington,  iv,  52-53;  Garden's  Anec- 
dotes, Field's  Brooklyn  edition,  1865,  ii,  App'x  viii:  Mrs.  Warren's  Hist.  Am.  Revolution, 
ii,  197. 

\  Siege  0/  Charleston,  165-66;  Tarleton's  Campaigns,  50, 



1780— May— July. 

Colonel  Ferguson  sent  to  the  District  of  Ninety  Six. — Organizing  the 
Local  Militia. — Major  Hanger  s  account  of  the  up-country  inhabi- 
tants— his  own  bad  reputation. — Ferguson's  seductive  promises  to 
the  people. —  The  Tory,  David  Fanning. — Ferguson  s  adaptation  to 
his  Mission — Mrs.  fane  Thomas'  adventure. —  Colonel  Thomas  repels 
a  Tory  assault  at  Cedar  Spri?ig. — Ferguson  advances  to  Fair  Forest. 
—  Character  of  the  Tories — Stories  of  their  plunderings. — Colonels 
Clarke  and  Jones  of  Georgia — the  latter  surprises  a  Tory  camp. — 
Dunlap  and  Mills  attack  Mc Do-well's  camp  on  North  Pacolet.— 
Captain  Hamptoii  s pursuit  and  defeat  of  the  Tories, 

On  the  reduction  of  Charleston,  Sir  Henry  Chnton 
was,  for  the  ensuing  few  weeks,  busily  emploj^ed  in  issuing 
proclamations  and  forming  plans  for  the  complete  subjuga- 
tion of  the  Carolinas  and  Georgia.  He  had  on  the  eigh- 
teenth of  May,  dispatched  Lord  Cornwallis  with  a  strong 
force  on  the  north-east  side  of  the  Santee  to  Camden  ;  while 
Colonel  Ferguson,  at  the  same  time,  with  a  hundred  and 
fifty  to  two  hundred  men  of  the  Provincial  corps,  marched 
from  Nelson's  Ferry  via  Colonel  Thomson's,  Beaver  creek, 
and  the  Congaree  Store,  crossing  the  Saluda  above  the 
mouth  of  Broad  river ;  thence  on  to  Little  river  and  Ninety 
Six,  where  they  arrived  on  the  twenty-second  of  June.  They 
performed  their  marches  in  the  cool  of  the  morning,  and  now 
and  then  apprehended  prominent  Whigs  on  the  route.  His 
orders  were  to  have  a  watch-care  over  the  extended  district 
of  country  from  the  Wateree  to  the  Saluda,  well  nigh  a 
hundred  miles.  Resuming  his  march  he  passed  on  to 
Ninety  Six,  whence,  after  a  fortnight's  rest,  he  advanced 
some  sixteen  miles,  and  selected  a  good  location  on  Litde 


river,  where  he  erected  some  field  works,  while  most  of 
his  Provincials  pushed  on  to  the  Fair  Forest  region.*  This 
camp  was  at  the  plantation  of  Colonel  James  Williams, 
in  what  is  now  Laurens  County,  near  the  Newberry  line, 
where  the  British  and  Tories  long  maintained  a  post,  a  part 
of  the  time  under  General  Cunningham,  till  the  enemy 
evacuated  Ninety  Six  the  following  year.f 

Sir  Henr^'  Clinton  had  directed  Major  Hanger  to  repair 
with  Colonel  Ferguson  to  the  interior  settlements,  and, 
jointty  or  separately,  to  organize,  muster,  and  regulate  all 
volunteer  corps,  and  inspect  the  quantity  of  grain  .and  num- 
ber of  cattle,  etc.,  belonging  to  the  inhabitants,  and  report 
to  Lord  Cornwallis,  who  would  be  left  in  command  of  the 
Southern  Provinces.]:  The  powers  of  this  warrant  were 
very  extensive  to  meet  the  exigencies  of  the  case.  It 
was  needful  that  commissioners  should  be  sent  out  prop- 
erl}'  authorized  to  receive  the  submission  of  the  people, 
administer  oaths  of  fealty,  and  exact  pledges  of  faithful 
Royal  service.  It  was  needful,  also,  that  the  young  men  of 
the  country  should  be  thoroughly  drilled  and  fitted  for  recruits 
for  Cornwallis'  diminished  forces  ;  and  it  was  equally  neces- 
sary for  that  commander  to  know  where  the  necessary  sup- 
plies of  grain  and  meat  could  be  found.  It  will  thus  be 
seen  how  comprehensive  was  this  mission  and  its  purposes. 

Nor  were  these  the  only  powers  vested  in  these  officers. 
All  Royal  authority  had,  for  several  years,  been  superseded 
by  enactments  and  appointments  of  the  newly  created 
State,  and  these,  of  necessity,  must  be  ignored.    So  Colonel 

*Tarleton's  Memoirs,  26,  80,  87,  100:  O'NealVs  //?>^.  of  Neivberry,  -l^-j, 
t  Williams'  place  was  about  a  mile  west  of  Little  river,  and  between  that  stream  and 
Mud  Lick  crock,  on  the  old  Island  Ford  road,  followed  by  General  Greene  when  he 
retreated  from  Ninety  Six,  in  17S1.  Ferguson's  camp  was  near  the  intersection  of  a  road 
leading  to  Laurens  C  H..  about  sixtf  an  miles  distant.  MS.  letters  of  General  A.  C. 
Garlington.  July  19th  and  28th'  1880,  on  authority  of  Colonel  James  W.  Watts,  a  descendant 
of  Colonel  Williams  and  Major  T.  K.  Vance  and  others.  D.  R  Crawford,  of  Martin's  Depot, 
S.  C,  states  that  three  miles  above  the  old  "Williams'  place,  on  the  west  side  nf  Little  river, 
opposite  the  old  Milton  store,  must  have  been  an  encampment,  as  old  gun  barrels  and  gun 
locks  have  been  found  there. 

X  Hanger's  Life  and  Opinions,  ii,  401-2. 


Ferguson  and  Major  Hanger  had  superadded  to  their  mili- 
tary powers,  authority  to  perform  the  marriage  service. 
Whether  they  had  occasions  to  officiate,  we  are  not 
informed.  However  this  may  have  been,  the  Major 
evidently  formed  no  high  estimate  of  the  beauties  of  the 
up-country  region.  "  In  the  back  parts  of  Carolina,"  says 
Major  Hanger,  "you  may  search  after  an  angel  with  as 
much  chance  of  finding  one  as  a  parson  ;  there  is  no  such 
thing  —  I  mean,  when  I  was  there.  What  they  are  now,  I 
know  not.  It  is  not  impossible,  but  they  may  have  become 
more  religious,  moral,  and  virtuous,  since  the  great  affec- 
tion they  have  imbibed  for  the  French.  In  my  time,  you 
might  travel  sixty  or  seventy  miles,  and  not  see  a  church, 
or  even  a  schism  shop  —  meeting-house.  I  have  often 
called  at  a  dog-house  in  the  woods,  inhabited  bv  eight  or 
ten  persons,  merely  from  curiosity.  I  have  asked  the 
master  of  the  house  :  '  Pray,  my  friend,  of  what  religion 
are  you?'  'Of  what  religion,  sir?'  'Yes,  mj^  friend,  of 
what  religion  are  you  —  or,  to  what  sect  do  you  belong?' 
'Oh!  now  I  understand  you;  why,  for  the  matter  of  that, 
religion  does  not  trouble  us  much  in  these  -parts.^ 

"This  distinguished  race  of  men,"  continues  Hanger, 
"are  more  savage  than  the  Indians,  and  possess  every  one 
of  their  vices,  but  not  one  of  their  virtues.  I  have  known 
one  of  these  fellows  travel  two  hundred  miles  through  the 
woods,  never  keeping  any  road  or  path,  guided  by  the  sun 
by  day,  and  the  stars  by  night,  to  kill  a  particular  person 
belonging  to  the  opposite  party.  He  would  shoot  him 
before  his  own  door,  and  ride  away  to  boast  of  what  he  had 
done  on  his  return.  I  speak  only  of  back-woodsmen,  not 
of  the  inhabitants  in  general  of  South  Carolina ;  for,  in  all 
America,  there  are  not  better  educated  or  better  bred  men 
than  the  planters.  Indeed,  Charleston  is  celebrated  for  the 
splendor,  luxury,  and  education  of  its  inhabitants :  I  speak 
only  of  that  heathen  race  known  by  the  name  of  Crackers.'"  * 

Such  were  Major  Hanger's  representations  of  the  back- 

*  Hanger's  Life  and  Opinions^  ii,  403-5. 


woods  people  of  Carolina  in  his  recorded  reminiscences  of 
twenty-one  }'ears  thereafter.  His  slurs  and  insinuations  on 
the  virtues  and  morals  of  the  "  angels,"  probabl}'  referring 
to  the  females  of  the  country,  may  well  be  taken  with 
many  grains  of  allowance,  coming,  as  they  do,  from  the 
intimate  friend  and  associate  of  the  profligate  Prince  Regent 
of  England,  and  Colonel  Tarleton,  both  in  turn  the  keeper 
of  the  beautiful,  but  fallen  "Perdita;"  and,  moreover,  his 
own  reputation  in  America  was  that  of  a  sensualist.  The 
probabilities  are,  that  he  met  with  well-deserved  rebuffs  and 
rebukes  from  the  ladies  of  the  up-countiy  of  Carolina,  and 
did  not  long  remain  there  to  thrust  his  insults  upon  a  virtu- 
ous people.  As  if  anticipating  his  own  rich  deservings,  he 
gives,  in  his  "Life,"  and  "Advice  to  ye  Lovely  Cj^prians," 
a  portrait  of  himself,  dressed  in  his  regimentals,  and  sus- 
pended from  a  gibbet.  Yet,  in  the  end,  he  "robbed  the 
hangman  of  his  fees,"  and  the  gallows  of  its  victim. 

In  a  letter  from  Lord  Cornwallis  to  Sir  Henry  Clinton, 
June  thirtieth,  1780,  he  mentioned  having  dispersed  Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Balfour's  detachment  from  the  Forks  of  the 
Santee,  by  the  Congarees,  to  Ninety  Six,  while  he  and 
Lieutenant-Colonel  Innes,  and  Major  Graham,  are  giving 
orders  for  the  militia  of  those  districts  ;  and  then  adds,  con- 
firmatory of  Major  Hanger's  representation  of  the  mixed 
character  of  Colonel  Ferguson's  services  :  "I  have  ordered 
Major  Ferguson,"  says  his  Lordship,  "to  visit  every  district 
in  the  Province  as  fast  as  they  get  the  militia  established,  to 
procure  lists  of  each,  and  to  see  that  my  orders  are  carried 
into  execution.  I  apprehend  that  his  commission  of  Major- 
Commandant  of  a  regiment  of  militia,  can  only  take  place 
in  case  a  part  of  the  second-class  should  be  called  out  for 
service,  the  home  duty  being  more  that  of  a  Justice  of  Peace 
than  of  a  soldier."* 

Major  Hanger  did  not  remain  many  weeks  with  Colonel 
Ferguson  m  the  Little  river  region ;   for,  early  in  August, 

*  Life  and  Cor.  of  l^r^  Cornwallis,  i,  486. 


he  entered  Tarleton's  Legion  as  Major,  to  which  he  had 
recent]}'  been  appointed,  and  participated  in  the  battle  of 
Camden,  and  in  the  aflair  at  Charlotte.  In  his  reckless 
manner  of  expression,  the  Major  remarks,  that  had  he 
remained  with  Ferguson,  he  might  have  shared  the  same 
fate  as  he  did  at  King's  Mountain;  and,  "if,  indeed,  as 
Mahomet  is  said  to  have  done,  I  could  have  taken  my  flight 
to  Paradise  on  a  jackass,  that  would  have  been  a  pleasant 
ride ;  but  Fate  destined  me  for  other  things." 

"We  come  not,"  declared  Ferguson,  "to  make  war  on 
women  and  children,  but  to  relieve  their  distresses."  This 
sounded  grateful  and  pleasant  to  the  ears  of  the  people  —  a 
large  majority  of  whom,  under  the  leadership  of  the  Cun- 
ninghams, Fletchall,  Robinson,  and  Pearis,  were  at  heart 
Loyalists,  and  honored  the  King  and  Parliament.  To 
Colonel  Ferguson's  standard,  while  encamped  at  Little 
river,  the  Toi'ies  of  the  country  flocked  in  large  numbers. 
Companies  and  regiments  were  organized,  and  many  offi- 
cers commissioned  for  the  Royal  service.  David  Fanning, 
who  had  long  resided  in  Orange  and  Chatham  Counties,  in 
the  North  Province,  subsequently  so  notorious  as  a  Tory 
leader  for  his  dare-devil  adventures  and  bloody  work  gener- 
ally, was  among  those  who  repaired  to  Ferguson's  encamp- 
ment ;  and  evidently,  on  his  personal  recommendation  and 
influence,  secured,  in  Juh^  from  Colonel  Ferguson,  com- 
missions, from  Ensign  to  Captain,  for  no  less  than  sixty-two 
persons  in  the  five  Counties  of  Anson,  Chatham,  Cumber- 
land, Orange,  and  Randolph,  in  North  Carolina,  whose 
names  and  residence  he  records  in  his  published  Narrative . 
Fanning  and  Captain  Richard  Pearis  had  received  General 
Williamson's  submission,  and  granted  protection  to  him 
and  his  followers ;  and  three  days  thereafter  to  Colonel 
Pickens.  Colonel  Robert  Cunningham  had  taken  the  com- 
mand in  the  Ninety  Six  region,  and  formed  a  camp  of 
Loyalists ;  *  and  British  authority  was  fully  recognized  in 
all  the  up-country  of  South  Carolina. 

*  Fanniiig's  Narrative,  12,  13,  19-21, 


The  younger  men  were  thoroughly  drilled  by  Colonel 
Ferguson  and  his  subordinates  in  military  tactics,  and  fitted 
for  active  service.  No  one  could  have  been  better  qualified 
for  this  business  than  the  distinguished  partisan  whom  Sir 
Henry  Clinton  had  selected  for  the  purpose.  He  seemed 
almost  a  born  commander.  His  large  experience  in  war, 
and  partiality  for  military  discipline,  superadded  to  his 
pei-sonal  magnetism  over  others,  eminently  fitted  him  for 
unlimited  influence  over  his  men,  and  the  common  people 
within  his  region.  He  was  not  favored,  however,  with  a 
commanding  personal  presence.  He  was  of  middle  stature, 
slender  make,  possessing  a  serious  countenance ;  yet  it  was 
his  peculiar  characteristic  to  gain  the  aflections  of  the  men 
under  his  command.  He  would  sit  down  for  hoin^s,  and 
converse  with  the  countiy  people  on  the  state  of  public 
affairs,  and  point  out  to  them,  from  his  view,  the  ruinous 
effects  of  the  disloyalty  of  the  ring-leaders  of  the  rebellion 
—  erroneously  supposing  that  it  was  the  leaders  onh'  who 
gave  impulse  to  the  popular  up-rising  throughout  the  Colo- 
nies. He  was  as  indefatigible  in  training  them  to  his  way 
of  thinking,  as  he  was  in  instructing  them  in  military  exer- 
cises. This  condescension  on  his  part  was  regarded  as 
wonderful  in  a  King's  officer,  and  very  naturally  went  far 
to  secure  the  respect  and  obedience  of  all  who  came  within 
the  sphere  of  his  almost  magic  inffuence.* 

Parties  were  sent  out  to  scour  the  north-western  portion 
of  South  Carolina,  and  apprehend  all  the  Rebel  leaders 
who  could  be  found.  Among  those  who  had  taken  protec- 
tion, and  were  yet  hurried  off"  as  prisoners  to  Ninety  Six, 
was  Colonel  John  Thomas,  Sr.,  of  the  Fair  Forest  settle- 
ment, then  quite  advanced  in  life.  His  devoted  wife  rode 
nearly  sixty  miles  to  visit  him,  and  convey  to  him  such  com- 
forts as  she  had  it  in  her  power  to  bestow.  While  there, 
Mrs.  Thomas  overheard  a  conversation  between  some  Tory 
women,    of   which    her   quick    ear    caught    these    ominous 

*  Political  Magazine,  March,  1781,  125. 

74  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

words  :  "The  Loyalists  intend,  to-morrow  night,  to  surprise 
tlie  Rebels  at  Cedar  Spring."  This  intelligence  was  enough 
to  thrill  a  mother's  heart,  for  Cedar  Spring  was  but  a  few 
miles  beyond  her  Fair  Forest  home,  and  with  the  Whig 
force  were  manjr  of  her  friends  and  neighbors,  and  some 
even  of  her  own  children.  No  time  was  to  be  lost — she 
intuitively  resolved  to  do  her  best  to  apprise  them  of  the 
enemy's  intention  before  the  meditated  blow  could  be 
struck.  She  started  early  the  next  morning,  and  reached 
Cedar  Spring  that  evening  in  time  to  give  them  warning 
of  the  impending  danger,  when  she  quietly  repaired  to  her 
home,  conscious  of  having  done  her  duty  to  her  country,  as 
well  as  performed  an  act  of  the  noblest  humanity.* 

This  was  on  the  twelfth  day  of  July,  f  Colonel  John 
Thomas,  Jr.,  the  son  of  our  heroine,  had  succeeded  his 
father  in  command  of  the  Fair  Forest  regiment,  and  headed 
the  small  band,  some  sixty  in  number,  now  encamped  at 
the  Cedar  Spring. J  Joseph  Mcjunkin  was  one  of  the 
party.  It  seems  to  have  been  a  camp  formed  for  collecting 
the  regiment,  and  drilling  them,  preparatory  to  joining 
Sumter.  On  receiving  the  timely  intelligence  of  the 
intended  British  attack.  Colonel  Thomas  and  his  men,  after 
a  brief  consultation,  retired  a  small  distance  in  the  rear  of 
their  camp  fires,  and  awaited  the  impending  onset.  The 
enemy,  one  hundred  and  fifty  strong,  rushed  upon  the 
camp,  where  they  expected  to  find  the  luckless  Rebels  pro- 

*In  crediting  Mrs.  Jane  Thomas  with  this  heroic  act,  we  are  aware  that  Mills,  in  his 
Statistics  of  South  Carolina,  has  accorded  it  to  Mrs.  Mary  Dillard  ;  but  the  uniform  testi- 
mony of  the  Thomas  family,  including  Major  Mcjunkin,  who  married  a  daughter  oi  Col- 
onel Thomas,  gives  the  narrative  as  we  have  substantially  related  it.  The  occasion  of  her 
visit  to  Ninety  Six,  and  residing  in  the  neighborhood  of  Cedar  Spring,  go  far  to  sustain  this 
view  of  the  matter.  Mrs.  Dillard.  on  the  other  hand,  lived  fully  thirty  miles  south-east  of 
Cedar  Spring,  and  south  of  the  Enoree  river,  in  Lauren's  District— and  on  the  route  Tarle- 
ton  pursued  when  on  his  way  to  attack  Sumter  at  Blackstock's  on  Tyger  ;  and  Tarleton 
relates,  that  "a  woman  on  horseback  had  viewed  the  line  of  march  from  a  wood,  and,  by  a 
nearer  road,  had  given  intelHgence  ''  to  Sumter.     That  woman  was  Mrs.  Dillard. 

-J- Compare  McCall's  Georgia,  ii,  310;  Moore's  Diary,  ii,  351  ;  and  Allaire's  Diary,  July 
14th  and  15th. 

X  Cedar  Spring  derived  its  name  from  a  large  cedar  tree,  that  formerly  ornamented  the 
banks  of  this  fine  spring,  which  is  about  fifty  feet  in  circumference.  It  has  three  principal 
fountains  or  sources  of  supply,  which  force  the  water  from  the  bowels  of  the  earth,  forming 
a  beautiful  basin  three  feet  deep.     The  water  is  impregnated  with  a  small  portion  of  lime. 

^  AND  ITS  HEROES.  75 

foundly  enwrapped  in  slumber ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  they 
were  wide  awake,  and  astonished  the  assailants  with  a 
volley  of  rifle  balls.  Several  were  slain,  and  the  survivors 
scampered  off  badly  demoralized.  It  was  a  short,  quick, 
and  decisive  affair.  Among  the  slain  was  a  Tory  named 
John  White,  well  known  to  Major  Mcjunkin,  and  who, 
in  the  early  part  of  the  war,  had  declined  bearing  arms 
against  the  Indians,  on  the  trumped-up  plea  of  being  a  non- 
combatant.*  It  was  fortunate  for  Thomas'  party,  that 
this  was  a  night  attack,  as  the  enemy  had  no  opportunity 
of  discovering  their  decided  superioritj' ;  and  doubdess 
retired  with  the  belief  that  the  Americans  must  have  num- 
bered several  hundred.  This  embodying  of  the  friends  of 
liberty  in  the  Fair  Forest  settlement,  probably  hastened  the 
movement  of  Ferguson  to  that  quarter. 
^  When  Colonel  Ferguson  left  his  camp  on  Little  river, 
he  crossed  the  Enoree  at  Kelly's  Ford,  and  encamped  in  the 
Fork,  at  the  plantation  of  Colonel  James  Lj'les,  who  was 
then  in  service  farther  east,  with  Sumter.  John  Robison 
and  others  of  this  region  were  plundered  bj'  Ferguson's 
men.  The  desperate,  the  idle,  the  vindictive,  who  sought 
plunder  or  revenge,  as  well  as  the  youthful  Loyalists,  whose 
zeal  or  ambition  prompted  them  to  take  up  arms,  all  found 
a  warm  reception  at  the  British  camp  ;  and  their  progress 
through  the  country  was  "  marked  with  blood,  and  lighted 
up  with  conflagration.''  Irving  graphically  describes  the 
character  of  these  Tory  recruits  :  "Ferguson,"  says  Irving, 
"  had  a  loyal  hatred  of  Whigs,  and  to  his  standard  flocked 
many  rancorous  Tories,  beside  outlaws  and  desperadoes,  so 
that  with  all  his  conciliating  intentions,  his  progress  through 
the  country  was  attended  by  many  exasperating  excesses." 
To  coerce  the  Whigs  to  submission,  and  embody  the 
Tories,  and  train  them  for  war,  Ferguson  kept  moving 
about  the  country,  and  sending  out  his  detachments  in  every 

*  Major  Mcjunkin's  MS.  Statement,  among  the  Saye  papers;  Mr.  Saye's  Memoir  of 
Mcjunkin,  al£0  Judge  O'Neall's,  in  the  Magnolia  Magazine  for  Jan.,  1843  ;  Hist.  Presbyte- 
rian Ch.  0/  So.  Carolina,  534. 


direction.  In  the  prosecution  of  these  designs,  he  marched 
into  Union  District,  camping  on  the  south  side  of  Tyger 
river,  about  half  a  mile  below  Blackstock's  Ford,  where 
the  cripple  spy,  Joseph  Kerr,  made  such  observations  as  he 
could,  and  returned  with  the  intelligence  to  Colonel  Mc- 
Dowell, that  about  fifteen  hundred  of  the  enemy  were 
penetrating  the  country  ;*  and  thence  Ferguson  passed  into 
the  settlement  then  called  "The  Quaker  Meadow,"  but 
since  known  as  the  Meadow  Woods.  On  Sugar  creek, 
a  southern  tributary  of  Fair  Forest  creek, f  resided  a 
number  of  determined  Whigs  named  Blasingame,  one  of 
whom  was  arrested.  Thence  Ferguson  moved  up  into 
the  Fair  Forest  settlement,  on  the  main  creek  of  that 
name,  camping  at  different  times  at  McClendon's  old  field ; 
then  between  where  J.  Mcllwaine  and  J.  H.  Kelso  since 
lived ;  thence  to  where  Gist  resided  a  few  years  since,  and 
thence  to  Cunningham's.  He  camped  a  while  at  Fair  Forest 
Shoal,  in  Brandon's  Settlement ;  and  subsequentl}'  for  three 
weeks  on  a  hill,  on  the  present  plantation  of  the  Hon.  John 
Winsmith,  eleven  miles  south  of  Cedar  Spring,  and  two 
south  of  Glenn's  Springs.  During  this  period  of  several 
weeks,  the  Tories  scoured  all  that  region  of  country  daily, 
plundering  the  people  of  their  cattle,  horses,  beds,  wearing 
apparel,  bee-gums,  and  vegetables  of  all  kinds — even  wrest- 
ing the  rings  from  the  fingers  of  the  females.  Major  Dun- 
lap  and  Lieutenant  Taylor,  with  fort)^  or  fifty  soldiers,  called 
at  a  Mrs.  Thomson's,  and  taking  down  the  family  Bible 
from  its  shelf,  read  in  it,  and  expressed  great  surprise  that 
persons  having  such  a  book,  teaching  them  to  honor  the 
King  and  obey  magistrates,  should  rebel  against  their  King 
and  country ;  but  amid  these  expressions  of  holy  horror, 

*  Kerr's  MS.  personal  statement,  communicated  by  Colonel  J.  H.  Wheeler;  Hunter's 
Sketches  of  Western  North  Carolina,  120-21. 

\  "  What  2.  fair  forest  is  this  !  "  exclaimed  the  first  settlers.  The  name  attached  itself 
to  the  place,  and  then  to  the  bold  and  lovely  mountain  stream,  which  sweeps  on  till  its 
waters  mingle  with  those  of  Broad  river. — Rev.  James  H.  Saye's  Memoir  of  Major  Joseph 
Mifi/rikin,  and  Sketches  of  the  Reztolutionary  History  of  South  Carolina,  3.n  interesting 
newspaper  series  published  over  thirty  years  ago. 


these  officers  suffered  their  troops  to  engage  in  ransacking 
and  pkindering  before  their  very  eyes. 

From  what  we  have  seen,  it  is  not  wonderful  that  the 
Tories  were  soon  as  heartily  despised  by  the  British  officers 
as  by  their  own  countrymen,  the  Whigs.  But  Ferguson 
was  not  the  man  to  be  diverted  from  his  purpose  by  any 
acts  of  theirs  of  treachery  and  inhumanity.  The  crown 
had  honors  and  rewards  to  bestow,  and  his  eye  rested  upon 
them.  He  knew  that  "the  defender  of  the  faith"  generally 
gave  much  more  cash  and  more  honors,  for  a  single  year  of 
devoted  service  in  mihtary  enterprises,  than  for  a  life-time 
spent  in  such  pursuits  as  exalt  and  ennoble  human  nature. 

The  horses  of  Ferguson's  men  were  turned  loose  in  to  any 
fields  of  grain  that  might  be  most  convenient.  Foraging 
parties  brought  in  cattle  to  camp  for  slaughter,  or  wantonly 
shot  them  down  in  the  woods  and  left  them.  As  many 
Whigs  as  could  be  found  were  apprehended,  not  even 
excepting  those  who  had  previously  taken  protection.  A 
few  had  been  prompted  to  take  protection,  rather  than  for- 
sake their  families,  trusting  thereby  to  British  honor  to 
secure  them  from  molestation  ;  but  thejr  were  soon  hurried 
off  to  Ninety  Six,  and  incarcerated  in  a  loathsome  prison, 
v^rhere  they  well  nigh  perished  for  want  of  sustenance.  But 
most  of  those,  at  this  time,  capable  of  bearing  arms,  had 
retired  to  North  Carolina,  or  were  serving  in  Sumter's 
army ;  so  that  Ferguson  had  an  excellent  opportunity  to 
drill  his  new  recruits,  and  support  his  men  by  pillaging  the 
people.  Occasionally  small  parties  of  Whigs  would  venture 
into  the  neighborhood — about  often  enough  to  afford  the 
enemy  good  exercise  in  pursuing  them  while  within  striking 

Such  an  invasion  as  Ferguson's,  with  its  terrors  and 
aggravations,  and  the  up-rising  of  the  Tories  in  the  western 
part  of  North  Carolina,  under  the  Moores,  and  Bryan,  soon 
led  to  blows,  with  all  the  sufferings  attendant  on  war  and 

*Saye's  MSS.,  ana  Memoir  0/ Mcjunkin. 


carnage.  The  barbaiities  meted  out  to  the  Americans  at 
Buford's  defeat,  sarcasticallv  denominated  by  the  Whigs  as 
Tarletoiis  quarters,  very  naturally  tended  to  embitter 
the  animosities  of  the  people.  The  Moores  were  signally 
defeated,  in  June,  at  Ramsour's  Mill,  and  Bryan  and  his 
followers  subsequently  driven  from  the  country. 

A  noted  partisan  of  Georgia,  Colonel  Elijah  Clarke,  now 
comes  upon  the  scene.  A  native  of  Virginia,  he  earty  settled 
on  the  Pacolet,  whence  he  pushed  into  Wilkes  County, 
Georgia,  where  the  Revolutionarj-  out-break  found  him. 
He  was  one  of  those  sturdy  patriots,  well  fitted  for  a 
leader  of  the  people  —  one  who  would  scorn  to  take  protec- 
tion, or  yield  one  iota  to  arbitrary  power.  When  British 
detachments  were  sent  into  various  parts  oi  Georgia,  it 
became  unsafe  for  such  unflinching  Whigs  as  Clarke  longer 
to  remain  there.  He  and  his  associates  resolved  to  scatter 
for  a  few  days,  visit  their  families  once  more,  and  then  retire 
into  South  Carolina,  where  they  hoped  to  find  other  heroic 
spirits  ready  to  co-operate  with  them  in  making  a  stand 
against  the  common  enemy.  Some  small  parties  had  already 
left  Georgia,  and  passing  along  the  western  frontiers  of 
South  Carolina,  had  sought  the  camp  of  Colonel  Charles 
McDowell,  who  was  then  embodying  a  force  on  the  south- 
western borders  of  the  North  Province. 

On  the  eleventh  of  July,  one  hundred  and  forty  well- 
mounted  and  well-armed  men  met  at  the  appointed  place  of 
rendezvous  ;  and,  after  crossing  the  Savannah  at  a  private 
ford  in  the  night,  they  learned  that  the  British  and  Loyalists 
were  in  force  on  their  front.  Clarke's  men  concluded  that 
it  would  be  hazardous  to  continue  their  retreat  on  that  route 
with  their  present  numbers.  As  they  were  volunteers,  and 
not  subject  to  coercion.  Colonel  Clarke  was  induced  to  return 
to  Georgia,  sufier  his  men  to  disperse  for  a  while,  and  await 
a  more  favorable  opportunity  to  renew  the  enterprise.  The 
majority  of  the  party  returned. 

Colonel  John  Jones,  of  Burke  County,  however,  objected 


to  a  retrograde  movement,  and  proposed  to  lead  those  who 
would  go  with  him,  through  the  woods  to  the  borders  of 
North  Carolina,  and  join  the  American  force  in  that  quarter. 
Thirty-five  men  united  with  him,  choosing  him  for  their 
leader,  and  John  Freeman  for  second  in  command,  pledg- 
ing implicit  obedience  to  their  orders.  Benjamin  Lawrence, 
of  South  Carolina,  a  superior  woodsman,  and  well  ac- 
quainted with  the  country,  now  joined  the  company,  and 
rendered  them  valuable  service  as  their  guide.  Passing 
through  a  disaffected  region,  they  adroitly  palmed  them- 
selves off  as  a  Loyalist  party,  engaged  in  the  King's  ser- 
vice ;  and,  under  this  guise,  they  were  in  several  instances, 
furnished  with  pilots,  and  directed  on  their  route. 

When  they  had  passed  the  head-waters  of  the  Saluda, 
in  the  north-eastern  part  of  the  present  county  of  Green- 
ville, one  of  these  guides  informed  them,  that  a  party  of 
Rebels  had,  the  preceding  night,  attacked  some  Loyalists 
a  short  distance  in  front,  and  defeated  them — doubtless  the 
British  repulse  at  Cedar  Spring,  as  already  related,  and 
which  occurred  some  twenty-five  or  thirty  miles  away.  Jones 
expressed  a  wish  to  be  conducted  to  the  camp  of  those  im- 
fortunate  Loyalist  friends,  that  he  might  aid  them  in  taking 
revenge  on  those  who  had  shed  the  blood  of  the  King's 
faithful  subjects.  About  eleven  o'clock  on  that  night,  July 
thirteenth,  Jones  and  his  little  party  were  conducted  to  the 
Loyalist  camp,  where  some  forty  men  were  collected  to 
pursue  ftie  Americans  who  had  retreated  to  the  North. 
Choosing  twenty-two  of  his  followers,  and  leaving  the  bag- 
gage and  horses  in  charge  of  the  others,  Colonel  Jones 
resolved  to  surprise  the  Tory  camp.  Approaching  the 
enemy  with  guns,  swords,  and  belt-pistols,  they  found  them 
in  a  state  of  self-security,  and  generally  asleep.  Closing 
quickly  around  them,  they  fired  upon  the  camp,  killing 
one  and  wounding  three,  when  thirty-two,  including  the 
wounded,  called  for  quarter,  and  surrendered.  Destroying 
the  useless  guns,  and  selecting  the  best  horses,  the  Loyal- 


ists  were  paroled  as  prisoners  of  war ;  when  the  pilot,  who 
did  not  discover  the  real  character  of  the  men  he  was 
conducting  until  too  late  to  have  even  attempted  to  pre- 
vent the  consequences,  was  now  required  to  guide  the 
Americans  to  Earle's  Ford  on  North  Pacolet  river,  where  a 
junction  was  formed  the  next  day  with  Colonel  McDowell's 
forces.  As  McDowell  had  that  day  made  a  tedious  march 
with  his  three  hundred  men,  they,  too,  were  in  a  fatigued 

Within  striking  distance  of  McDowell's  camping  ground, 
some  twenty  miles  in  a  nearly  southern  direction,  was  Prince's 
Fort,  originally  a  place  of  neighborhood  resort  in  time  of 
danger  from  the  Indians,  in  the  early  settlement  of  the 
country,  some  twenty  years  before.  This  fort,  now  occu- 
pied by  a  British  and  Tory  force,  under  Colonel  Innes,  was 
located  upon  a  commanding  height  of  land,  near  the  head 
of  one  of  the  branches  of  the  North  Fork  of  Tyger,  seven 
miles  north  of  west  from  the  present  village  of  Spartanburg. 
Innes,  unapprised  of  McDowell's  approach,  detached  Major 
Dunlap,  with  seventy  dragoons,  accompanied  by  Colonel 
Ambrose  Mills,  with  a  party  of  Loyalists,  in  pursuit  of 
Jones,  of  whose  audacious  operations  he  had  just  received 

McDowell's  camp  was  on  rising  ground  on  the  eastern 
side  of  the  North  Pacolet,  in  the  present  county  of  Polk, 
North  Carolina,  near  the  South  Carolina  line,  and  about 
twenty  miles  south-west  of  Rutherfordton ;  and  Dunlap 
reaching  the  vicinity  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  stream  dur- 
ing the  night,  and  supposing  that  Jones'  party  only  was  en- 
camped there,  commenced  crossing  the  river,  which  was 
narrow  at  that  point,  when  an  American  sentinel  fled  to  camp 
and  gave  the  first  notice  of  the  enemy's  presence.*  Dunlap, 
with  his  Dragoons  and  Tories,  dashed  instantly,  with  drawn 
swords,   among  McDowell's  men,  while  but  few  of  them 

*  McCall,  in  his  Hzst.  of  Georgia,  asserts  that  the  sentinel  fired  his  gun,  but  James 
Thompson,  one  of  Joseph  McDowell's  party,  states  as  in  the  text,  which  seems  to  be  cor- 
roborated by  the  complaint  of  Col.  Hampton,  and  the  general  surprise  of  the  camp. 


were  yet  roused  out  of  sleep.  The  Georgians  being  nearest 
to  the  ford,  were  the  first  attacked,  losing  two  killed  and  six 
wounded  ;  among  the  latter  was  Colonel  Jones,  who  received 
eight  cuts  on  his  head  from  the  enemy's  sabres.  Freeman, 
with  the  remainder,  fell  back  about  a  hundred  yards,  where 
he  joined  Major  Singleton,  who  was  forming  his  men  behind 
a  fence ;  while  Colonels  McDowell  and  Hampton  soon 
formed  the  main  body  on  Singleton's  right.  Being  thus 
rallied,  the  Americans  were  ordered  to  advance,  when  Dun- 
lap  discovering  his  mistake  as  to  their  numbers,  quickly  re- 
treated across  the  river,  which  was  fordable  in  many  places, 
and  retired  without  much  loss  ;  its  extent,  however,  was  un- 
known, beyond  a  single  wounded  man  who  was  left  upon 
the  ground. 

Besides  the  loss  sustained  by  the  Georgians,  six  of  Mc- 
Dowell's men  were  killed,  and  twentj'-four  wounded. 
Among  the  killed  were  Noah  Hampton,  a  son  of  Colonel 
Hampton,  with  a  comrade  named  Andrew  Dunn  Young 
Hampton,  when  roused  from  his  slumbers,  was  asked  his 
name;  he  simply  replied  "Hampton,"  one  of  a  numerous 
family  and  connection  of  Whigs,  too  well  known,  and  too 
active  in  opposition  to  British  rule,  to  meet  with  the  least 
forbearance  at  the  hands  of  enraged  Tories  ;  and  though  he 
begged  for  his  life,  they  cursed  him  for  a  Rebel,  and  ran  him 
through  with  a  bayonet.  Young  Dunn  also  suffered  the 
same  cruel  treatment.  Colonel  Hampton  felt  hard  towards 
Colonel  McDowell,  his  superior  officer,  as  he  wished  to 
have  placed  videttes  beyond  the  ford,  which  McDowell 
opposed,  believing  it  entirely  unnecessary.  Had  this  been 
done,  due  notice  would  in  all  probability  have  been  given, 
and  most  of  the  loss  and  suffering  have  been  averted.* 

*  McCall's  Hist,  of  Georgia,  ii,  308-12;  Saye's  MSS.;  MS.  pension  statements  of  Gen- 
eral Thomas  Kennedy,  of  Kentucky,  Robert  Henderson,  and  Robert  McDowell  ;  Moore's 
Diary  0/  the  Revolution,  ii.  351,  .gives  the  date  of  the  Pacolet  fight  as  occurring  "in  the 
night  of  July  fifteenth."  and  this  on  the  authority  of  Govenor  Rutledge,  who  was  then  at 
Charlotte.  Judging  from  Allaire's  Diary,  it  niust  have  been  the  night  before.  The  par- 
ticulars of  the  killing  of  young  Hampton  and  Dunn  are  derived  from  the  MS.  communi- 
cations of  Adam.  Jonathan,  and  James  J.  Hampton,  grandsons  of  Colonel  Hampton. 

82  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

The  reason,  presumably,  why  Colonel  McDowell  was 
over-confident  of  security  was,  that  he  had,  the  day  before, 
detached  his  brother,  Major  Joseph  McDowell,  with  a  partjr 
to  go  on  a  scout,  and  ascertain,  if  possible,  where  the  Tories 
lay  ;  but  taking  a  wrong  direction,  he  had  consequently 
made  no  discovery.*  Not  returning,  Colonel  McDowell 
very  naturally  concluded  that  there  was  no  portion  of  the 
enemy  very  near,  and  that  he  and  his  weary  men  could, 
with  reasonable  assurance  of  safety,  take  some  needed 
repose.  It  was  that  very  night,  while  Major  McDowell 
was  blundering  on  the  wrong  route,  that  Dunlap  was  able 
to  advance  undiscovered,  and  make  his  sudden  attack. 

Before  sunrise  the  ensuing  morning,  fifty-two  of  the 
most  active  men,  including  Freeman  and  fourteen  of  his 
party,  mounted  upon  the  best  horses  in  the  camp,  were 
ordered  to  pursue  the  retreating  foe,  under  the  command 
of  Captain  Edward  Hampton.  After  a  rapid  pursuit  of  two 
hours,  they  overtook  the  enemy,  fifteen  miles  away ;  and 
making  a  sudden  and  unexpected  attack,  completely  routed 
them,  killing  eight  of  them  at  the  first  fire.  Unable  to  rally 
his  demoralized  men,  who  had  been  taken  unawares.  Dun- 
lap  made  a  precipitate,  helter-skelter  retreat  towards  Fort 
Prince,  during  which  several  of  his  soldiers  were  killed  and 
wounded.  The  pursuit  was  continued  within  three  hundred 
yards  of  the  British  fort,  in  which  three  hundred  men  were 
securely  posted.  At  two  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  Hamp- 
ton and  his  men  returned  to  McDowell's  camp,  with  thirty- 
five  good  horses,  dragoon  equipage,  and  a  considerable 
portion  of  the  enemy's  baggage,  as  the  trophies  of  victory, 
and  without  the  loss  of  a  single  man.  It  was  a  bold  and 
successful  adventure,  worthy  of  the  heroic  leader  and  his 
intrepid  followers. 

It  is  not  a  little  remarkable,  that  three  successive  night 
fights   should  have   occurred   within  a  few  miles  of  each 

*  Statement  of  Captain  James  Thompson,  of  Madison   County,  Georgia,  one  of  Major 
McDowell's  party,  preserved  among  the  Saye  MSS. 


other,  and  the  two  latter  as  military  sequences  of  the  former. 
First,  the  Tory  attack  on  Colonel  Thomas,  at  Cedar  Spring, 
on  the  evening  of  the  thirteenth  of  July  ;  then  Colonel  Jones' 
surprise  of  the  remnant  of  this  Loyalist  party,  on  the  night 
of  the  fourteenth ;  and  finally,  the  attack  of  Dunlap  and 
Mills,  in  retahation,  on  Colonel  McDowell's  camp,  ^t 
Earle's  Ford  of  North  Pacolet,  on  the  night  of  the  fifteenth. 
And  in  all  three  of  these  affairs,  the  Tories  got  the  worst 
of  it. 

McCall's  Georgia,  li,  312-13;  and  MS.  pension  statement  of  Jesse  Neville,  one  of 
Hampton's  party.  It  may  not  be  inappropriate,  in  this  connection,  to  add  a  few  words 
relative  to  the  hero  of  this  courageous  exploit.  Captain  Hampton  was  a  brother  of  Colonels 
Wade,  Richard,  and  Henry  Hampton,  of  Sumter's  army.  He  was  a  very  active  partisan, 
and  reputed  one  of  the  best  horsemen  of  his  time.  In  May,  1775,  with  his  brother,  Preston 
Hampton,  he  was  delegated  by  the  people  of  the  frontiers  of  South  Carolina  to  visit  the 
Cherokees,  and  see  if,  by  a  suitable  "talk,"  they  could  not  be  made  to  comprehend  the 
causes  of  the  growing  differences  between  the  Colonies  and  the  mother  country.  They 
met  with  a  rude  reception,  Cameron  and  the  British  emissaries  instigating  the  Indians  to 
oppose  their  views  ;  and  Cameron  made  them  prisoners,  giving  their  horses,  a  gun,  a  case 
of  pistols  and  holsters,  to  the  Indians.     By  some  means,  they  escaped  with  their  lives. 

The  following  year,  1776,  while  Edward  Hampton  was,  with  his  wife,  on  a  visit  to  her 
father,  Baylis  Earle,  on  North  Pacolet,  the  Cherokees  made  an  incursion  into  the  valleys 
of  Tyger,  massacring  Preston  Hampton,  his  aged  parents,  and  a  young  grandchild  of 
theirs.  Edward  Hampton  served  on  Williamson's  expedition  against  the  Cherokees,  in  the 
summer  and  autumn  of  that  year;  and  though  only  a  Lieutenant,  he  had  the  command  of 
his  company,  and  distinguished  himself  in  a  battle  with  the  enemy,  receiving  the  special 
thanks  of  his  General  for  his  bravery  and  good  conduct  on  the  occasion. 

After  the  destruction  of  the  Hampton  family,  on  the  Middle  Fork  of  Tyger,  where  he 
resided,  he  seems  to  have  made  his  bome  for  a  season  on  a  plantation  he  possessed  at 
Earle's  Ford,  where  his  father-in-law,  Mr.  Earle,  resided.  That  he  was  the  Captain 
Hampton  who  led  the  dashing  foray  against  Dunlap  on  his  retreat  to  Prince's  Fort,  is  par- 
tially corroborated  by  Dr.  Howe,  in  his  History  of  the  Presbyterian  Church  in  South 
Carolina,  p,  542,  though  erroneous  as  to  the  place  of  the  occurrence;  but  Jesse  Neville's 
pension  statement  renders  the  matter  conclusive,  supplying  the  first  name  of  his  Captain, 
which  McCall  fails  to  give  in  his  details  of  that  affair. 

Captain  Hampton  was  killed  the  ensuing  October,  at  or  near  Fair  Forest  creek,  in  the 
bosom  of  his  family,  by  Bill  Cunningham's  notorious  "  Bloody  Scout."  He  was  in  the 
prime  of  life,  and  in  his  death  his  country  lost  a  bold  cavalier.  He  was  the  idol  of  his 
family  and  friends.  His  descendants  in  Georgia,  Mississippi,  and  Texas,  are  among  the 
worthiest  of  people.  Baylis  Earle  became  one  of  the  early  judges  of  Spartanburg  District, 
and  was  living  in  1826,  in  his  eighty-ninth  year — MS.  statement  of  Colonel  John  Carter, 
Watauga,  May  30th,  1775;  MS.  letter  of  Colonel  Elijah  Clarke  to  General  Sumter,  October 
29th,  1780;  Governor  Perry's  sketch  of  the  Hampton  Family,  in  the  Magnolia  Magazine, 
June.  1843,  with  a  continuation,  which  appeared  in  the  South  Carolina  papers,  in  1B43, 
written  by  Colonel  Wade  Hampton,  Sr.,  father  of  the  present  Senator  Hampton,  of  that 



t780— July— August. 

McDowell  sends  for  the  Over-Mountain  Men. —  Clarke  joins  him,  and 
pushes  on  to  Sumter's  Camp. — Capture  and  Escape  of  Captain 
Patrick  Moore. — Moore  s  Plunderers. — Story  of  Jane  Mcjunkin 
and  Bill  Haynesworth. — Shelby  and  the  Motmtaineers  arrive  at 
McDowell's  Camp. —  Capture  of  Thicketty  Fort. — Expedition  to 
Brown's  Creek  and  Fair  Forest. — Fight  at  the  Peach  Orchard,  near 
Cedar  Spring,  and  Wofford' s  Iron  Works,  and  its  incidents. — 
Saye's  Account  of  the  Action. — Bri.tish  Report. —  Contradictory 
Statements  concerning  the  Conflict. 

When  Colonel  McDowell  became  convinced  that  Fer- 
guson's movement  to  the  north-western  portion  of  South 
Carolina,  threatened  the  invasion  of  the  North  Province 
also,  he  not  only  promptly  raised  what  force  he  could  from 
the  sparsely  populated  settlements,  on  the  heads  of  Catawba, 
Broad  and  Pacolet  rivers,  to  take  post  in  the  enemy's  front 
and  watch  his  operations  ;  but  dispatched  a  messenger  with 
this  alarming  intelligence  to  Colonels  John  Sevier  and  Isaac 
Shelby,  on  Watauga  and  Holston,  those  over-mountain 
regions,  then  a  portion  of  North  Carolina,  but  now  of  East 
Tennessee  ;  urging  those  noted  border  leaders  to  bring  to 
his  aid  all  the  riflemen  they  could,  and  as  soon  as  possible. 
Sevier,  unable  to  leave  his  frontier  exposed  to  the  inroads 
of  the  Cherokees,  responded  at  once  to  the  appeal,  by  send- 
ing a  part  of  his  regiment  under  Major  Charles  Robertson  ; 
and  Shelby,  being  more  remote,  and  having  been  absent  on 
a  surveying  tour,  was  a  few  days  later,  but  joined  McDow- 
ell, at  the  head  of  two  hundred  mounted  riflemen,  about  the 
twenty-fifth  of  July,  at  his  camp  near  the  Cherokee  Ford 
of  Broad  river. 


Colonel  Clarke  did  not  long  remain  in  Georgia.  While 
there,  he  and  his  associates  were  necessarilj'  compelled  to 
secrete  themselves  in  the  woods,  privately  supplied  with  food 
by  their  friends.  This  mode  of  life  was  irksome,  and  soon 
became  almost  insupportable,  without  the  least  prospect  of 
accomplishing  anything  beneficial  to  the  public.  The  regi- 
ment was  re-assembled,  in  augmented  numbers,  when,  by 
a  general  desire,  Colonel  Clarke  led  them  along  the  eastern 
slope  of  the  mountains,  directing  their  course  towards 
North  Carolina,  where  they  could  unite  with  others,  and 
render  their  services  useful  to  their  country.  Without  mis- 
hap or  adventure,  they  were  joined  by  Colonel  Jones,  as 
they  neared  the  region  where  they  expected  to  find  friends  in 
the  field.  Clarke  was  soon  after  joined  by  the  brave  Cap- 
tain James  McCall,  with  about  twentj'  men,  from  the  region 
of  Ninety  Six,  For  want  of  confidence  in  Colonel  Mc- 
Dowell's activity,  or  from  some  other  cause,  Clarke  pushed 
on,  and  joined  Sumter  on  or  near  the  Catawba. 

The  story  of  the  captivity  of  Captain  Patrick  Moore,  a 
noted  Loyalist,  now  claims  our  attention.  He  had  probably 
escaped  from  the  slaughter  at  Ramsour's  Mill,  on  the 
twentieth  of  June,  when  his  brother,  Colonel  John  Moore 
safety  retired  to  Camden.  Anxious  lor  the  capture  of  Cap- 
tain Moore,  Major  Joseph  Dickson  and  Captain  William 
Johnston  were  sent  out,  in  the  fore  part  of  July,  with  a 
party  to  apprehend  this  noted  Toiy  leader,  and  others  of 
his  ilk,  if  they  could  be  found.  The  veteran  Captain 
Samuel  Martin,  who  had  sensed  in  the  old  French  and 
Indian  war,  was  one  of  the  party.  On  Dawson's  Fork,  of 
Pacolet  river,  near  the  Old  Iron  Works,  since  Bivingsville, 
and  now  known  as  Glendale,'*  the  parties  met,  and  a 
skirmish  ensued,  in  which  Captain  Johnston  and  the  Tory 
leader  had  a  personal    rencontre.     Moore  was   at  length 

*  Glendale  is  located  on  the  Southern  side  of  Lawson's  Fork,  while  the  Old  Iron  Works 
were  on  the  same  bank,  fully  half  a  mile  above,  where  the  old  road  once  crossed  the  stream. 
"  These  Works,"  says  Mills,  in  (826  "were  burnt  by  the  Tories,  and  never  rebuilt." 


overpowered  and  captured ;  but  in  the  desperate  contest, 
Johnston  received  several  sword  wounds  on  his  head,  and 
on  the  thumb  of  his  right  hand.  While  bearing  his  prisoner 
towards  the  Whig  lines,  a  short  distance  away,  he  was  rap- 
idly approached  by  several  British  troopers.  Quickly 
attempting  to  fire  his  loaded  musket  at  his  pursuers,  it  unfor- 
tunately missed,  in  consequence  of  the  blood  flowing  from 
his  wounded  thumb,  and  wetting  his  priming.  This  mis- 
fortune on  his  part  enabled  his  prisoner  to  escape ;  and, 
perceiving  his  own  dangerous  and  defenceless  condition,  he 
promptly  availed  himself  of  a  friendly  thicket  at  his  side, 
eluded  his  pursuers,  and  shortly  after  joined  his  command.* 

At  this  time,  or  soon  after,  Moore  had  command  of  Fort 
Anderson,  or  Thicketty  Fort,  as  it  was  more  generally 
called,  situated  a  quarter  of  a  mile  north  of  Goucher  Creek, 
and  two  and  a  half  miles  above  the  mouth  of  this  small 
water-course,  which  empties  into  Thicketty  Creek,  a  west- 
ern tributary  of  Broad  river,  uniting  with  that  stream  a  few 
miles  above  its  junction  with  Pacolet.  It  was  a  strong  for- 
tress, built  a  few  years  before  for  defence  against  the  Chero- 
kees,  and  was  surrounded  by  a  strong  abatis,  well  fitted  for 
a  vigorous  defence.  It  became  a  great  place  of  resort  and 
protecrion  for  Tory  parties.  They  would  sally  forth  from 
Thicketty  Fort,  and  plunder  Whig  families  in  every  direc- 
tion— so  that  women  and  children  were  often  left  without 
clothing,  shoes,  bread,  meat,  or  salt. 

In  the  absence  of  Captain  Nathaniel  Jeffries,  of  that 
region,  one  of  these  phindering  parties  visited  his  house, 
appropriated  such  articles  as  they  chose,  built  a  fire  on  the 
floor,  abused  Mrs.  Jeffries  as  the  meanest  of  all  Rebels, 
and  drove  off"  the  horses  and  cattle.  On  another  occasion, 
the  house  of  Samuel  Mcjunkin,  in  Union  District,  a 
warm  patriot,  but  too  old  for  active  military  service,  was 
visited  by  a  party  under  Patrick  Moore.     They  stayed  all 

*  Hunter's  Sketches  of  Western  North  Carolina,  242;  MS.  Pension  Statement  of  Cap- 
tain Samuel  Martin. 


night ;  and,  when  about  to  depart,  stripped  the  family  of 
bed-clothes  and  wearing  apparel.  A  noted  Tory,  Bill 
Haynesworth,  seized  a  bed-quilt,  and  placed  it  upon  his 
horse,  when  Mcjunkin's  sturdy  daughter,  Jane,  snatched  it, 
and  a  struggle  ensued  for  the  possession.  The  soldiers 
amused  themselves  by  exclaiming — "  Well  done,  woman  ! " 
— "Well  done.  Bill ! "  For  once  Moore's  gallantry  predomi- 
nated over  his  love  of  plunder  ;  and  he  swore  roundly  if  Jane 
could  take  the  quilt  from  Haynesworth,  she  should  have  it. 
Presently  in  the  fierce  contest.  Bill's  feet  came  in  contact 
with  some  dirty  slime  in  the  yard,  and  slipped  from  under 
him,  and  he  lay  prostrate  and  panting  on  the  ground. 
Jane,  quick  as  thought,  placed  one  foot  upon  his  breast,  and 
wresting  the  quilt  from  his  grasp,  retired  in  triumph,  while 
poor  Bill  sneaked  off  defeated  and  crest-fallen.  This  brave 
woman  was  the  sister  of  Major  Mcjunkin. 

Nor  was  Miss  Nancy  Jackson,  who  lived  in  the  Irish 
Settlement,  near  Fair  Forest  creek,  less  demonstrative  in 
defence  of  her  rights  ;  for  she  kicked  a  Tory  down  the 
stairs  as  he  was  descending,  loaded-  with  plunder.  In  his 
rage,  he  threatened  to  send  the.  Hessian  troops  there  the 
next  day,  which  obliged  the  heroic  girl  to  take  refuge  with 
an  acquaintance  several  miles  distant.* 

The  intrepid  Sumter,  hearing  of  Ferguson's  inroads 
beyond  Broad  river,  directed  Colonel  Clarke  and  his 
Georgians,  together  with  such  persons  in  his  camp  as 
resided  in  that  region,  and  desired  to  aid  in  its  protection, 
to  repair  to  that  quarter.  Captain  William  Smith,  of 
Spartanburg,  and  his  company,  availed  themselves  of  this 
privilege.  Arriving  at  the  Cherokee  Ford,  they  met  Colo- 
nel McDowell,  when  Colonel  Shelby,  together  with  Colonel 
Clarke,  Colonel  Andrew  Hampton  and  Major  Charles 
Robertson,  of  Sevier's  regiment,  were  detached  with  six 
hundred   men,   to   surprise    Thicketty    Fort,    some    twenty 

*MS.  Saye  papers;  Saye's  Memoir  of  Mcjunkin :  Mrs.  EUet's  IVamen  of  the  Revolu- 
tion, i  ,i6a. 


miles  distant.  The)'  took  up  the  line  of  march  at  sunset, 
and  surrounded  the  post  at  day-break  the  next  morning. 
Colonel  Shelby  sent  in  Captain  William  Cocke,  a  volun- 
teer— in  after  years,  a  United  States  Senator  from  Ten- 
nessee— to  make  a  peremptorj^  demand  for  the  surrender 
of  the  garrison  ;  to  which  Moore  replied  that  he  would 
defend  the  place-  to  the  last  extremity.  Shelby  then 
drew  in  his  lines  to  within  musket  shot  of  the  enemy  all 
around,    with    a    full    determination    to    make    an    assault. 

Shelby's  gallant  "  six  hundred  "  made  so  formidable  an 
appearance,  that  on  a  second  message,  accompanied,  we 
may  well  suppose,  with  words  of  intimidation,  Moore,  per- 
haps fearing  another  Ramsour's  Mill  onslaught,  relented, 
and  proposed  to  surrender,  on  condition  that  the  garrison  be 
paroled  not  to  serve  again  during  the  war,  unless  exchanged, 
which  was  acceded  to — the  more  readily,  as  the  Ameri- 
cans did  not  care  to  be  encumbered  with  prisoners.  Thus 
ninety-three  Loyalists,  with  one  British  Sergeant-Major, 
stationed  there  to  discipline  them,  surrendered  themselves 
without  firing  a  gun  ;  and  among  the  trophies  of  victory 
were  two  hundred  and  fifty*  stand  of  arms,  all  loaded  with 
ball  and  buck-shot,  and  so  arranged  at  the  port-holes,  with 
their  abundant  supplies,  that  they  could,  had  a  Ferguson,  » 
Dunlap,  or  a  De  Peyster  been  at  their  head,  have  resisted 
double  the  number  of  their  assailants. f 

Among  the  spoils  taken  at  King's  Mountain,  was  th^' 
fragment  of  a  letter,  without  date  or  signature — probably  a 

*This  is  Shelby's  statement;  the  MS.  Cocke  papers  say  "one  hundred  and  fifty  stand 
of  arms  were  taken." 

tThe  leading  facts  relative  to  the  capture  of  Thicketty  Fort  arc  taken  from  Haywood's 
History  of  Tennessee,  64;  Ramsey's  Annals  of  Tennessee,  214;  Memoir  of  Shelby,  in 
National  Portrait  Gallery,  written  by  Colonel  Charles  S.  Todd.  Shelby's  son-in-law,  and 
which  appeared,  revised,  in  the  ]Vestern  Monthly  Magazine,  in  1836;  Breazeale's  Life  as 
it  Is,  50 — all  which  statements  closely  follow  a  MS.  account  written  by  Shelby  himself;  MS. 
statement,  preserved  among  the  Saye  papers,  of  John  Jeffries,  son  of  the  plundered  woman 
mentioned  in  the  narrative;  MS.  papers  of  Hon.  William  Cocke  furnish  the  name  of  the 
fort  ;  MS.  pension  statements  of  William  Smith,  of  Lincoln  county,  Tennessee,  Alex.  Mc- 
Fadden,  of  Rutherford  county.  North  Carohna,  and  John  Clark,  of  Washington  county, 
Tennessee,  corroborating,  in  a  general  way,  the  facts  of  the  capture  ;  and  in  a  personal 
interview  with  Silas  McBee,  of  Pontotoc  county,  Mississippi,  in  1842,  he  confirmed  Shelby's 
statement  that  ninety-four  was  the  number  of  Moore's  party  captured.  McBee  lived  on 
Thicketty  at  the  time  of  the  capture  of  Moore  and  his  men. 


copy  of  a  dispatch  from  Ferguson  to  Lord  Cornwallis — in 
which  this  account  is  given  of  Thicketty  Fort,  Moore,  and 
his  surrender  of  the  place  :  "It  had  an  upper  hue  of  loop- 
holes, and  was  surrounded  by  a  very  strong  abatis,  with 
only  a  small  wicket  to  enter  by.  It  had  been  put  in  thor- 
ough repair  at  the  request  of  the  garrison,  which  consisted 
of  neighboring  militia  that  had  come  to  [the  fort]  ;  and  was 
defended  b}'  eighty  men  against  two  or  three  hundred  ban- 
ditti without  cannon,  and  each  man  was  of  opinion  that  it 
was  impossible  [for  the  Rebels  to  take  it.]  The  officer  next 
in  command,  and  all  the  others,  gave  their  opinion  for  de- 
fending it,  and  agree  in  their  account  that  Patrick  Moore, 
after  proposing  a  surrender,  acquiesced  in  their  opinion,  and 
offei-ed  to  go  and  signify  as  much  to  the  Rebels,  but  re- 
turned with  some  Rebel  officers,  whom  he  put  in  possession 
of  the  gate  and  place,  who  were  instantlj-  followed  by  their 
men,  and  the  fort  full  of  Rebels,  to  the  surprise  of  the  gar- 
rison.    He  plead  cowardice,  I  understand.!" 

The  capture  of  Thicketty  Fort  occurred  on  Sunday,  the 
thirtieth  of  July,  as  the  connecting  circumstances  indicate, 
and  Lieutenant  Allaire's  Diary  proves.  Shelb}'  and  his 
men,  loaded  with  the  spoils  of  victor^',  returned  at  once  to 
McDowell's  camp  near  the  Cherokee  Ford. 

McDowell's  force  at  this  time  could  not  have  exceeded  a 
thousand  men,  while  Ferguson's  must  have  reached  fifteen  to 
eighteen  hundred.  It  was,  therefore,  the  policy  of  the  Ameri- 
cans to  maintain  their  position  near  Cherokee  Ford,  guard 
against  surprise,  and  harass  their  adversaries,  until  they 
should  be  able,  with  augmented  numbers,  to  expel  them 
from  the  country.  Shortly  after  the  Thickettj^  expedition, 
Colonel  McDowell  again  detached  Colonels  Shelby,  and 
Clarke,  with  Colonel  William  Graham,  with  a  combined 
force  of  six  hundred  mounted  men,  to  watch  the  movements 
of  Ferguson's  troops,  and  whenever  possible,  to  cut  off  his 
foraging  parties.     They  directed  their  course  down  Broad 

f  Ramsey's  Tennessee,  215. 


river  some  twenty-five  miles  to  Brown's  creek,  in  now 
Union  county,  where  it  was  agreed  they  should  assemble, 
and  which  was  a  better  situation  than  the  Cherokee  Ford, 
to  observe  the  operations  of  the  British  and  Tories.  But 
when  only  a  few  of  the  parties  fairly  began  to  collect  at 
that  point,  a  superior  force  of  the  enemy  forced  them  to 
retire,  when  they  bore  off  some  thirty  or  forty  miles  to  the 
upper  portion  of  the  Fair  Forest  settlement,  within  the 
present  limits  of  Spartanburg.  On  the  way,  they  seem  to 
have  gotten  their  force  together.  By  watching  their  op- 
portunity, they  hoped  to  gain  some  decided  advantage 
over  their  opponents,  whom  they  well  knew  they  would 
encounter  in  large  numbers  in  that  quarter.  Hearing 
of  these  bold  Rebel  troopers,  Ferguson  made  several  in- 
effectual attempts  to  surprise  them.  But  our  frontier  heroes 
were  too  watchful  to  be  caught  napping.  Clarke  and 
Shelby,  with  their  men,  were  constantly  on  the  alert — hav- 
ing no  fixed  camp,  so  that  they  were  difficult  to  find. 

On  the  evening  of  August  seventh,  Clarke  and  Shelby, 
with  their  troops,  stopped  for  refreshment — and,  if  not  dis- 
turbed, for  a  night's  repose — on  Fair  Forest  creek,  nearly 
two  miles  west  of  Cedar  Spring,  at  a  point  where  the  old 
road  crossed  that  stream,  leading  thence  to  Wofford's  Iron 
Works,  and  thence  onward  to  the  Cherokee  Ford.  Several 
trusty  scouts  were  sent  out  to  make  discoveries,  who  re- 
turned before  day  the  next  morning,  with  the  intelligence 
that  the  enemy  were  within  half  a  mile  of  them.  About 
the  same  moment,  the  report  of  a  gun  was  heard,  in  the 
direction  of  the  British  party,  which  was  afterward  ascer- 
tained to  have  been  fired  by  one  of  Dunlap's  men — one  who 
felt  some  compunctions  of  conscience  at  the  idea  of  surpris- 
ing and  massacring  his  countrymen,  but  who,  protesting 
that  it  was  accidental,  was  not  suspected  of  treachery. 
The  Americans,  from  prudential  motives,  retreated  toward 
the  old  Iron  Works,  on  Lawson's  Fork  of  Pacolet,  leaving 
Cedar  Spring  apparently  a  mile  to  the  right ;  and  taking 



position  not  very  far  from  the  old  orchard  on  the  Thompson 
place,  which  was  some  three  or  four  miles  from  the  ford  over 
Fair  Forest,  and  something  like  a  mile  and  a  half  from  the 
Iron  Works,  and  about  a  mile  from  Cedar  Spring.     Here 


A — Thompson's  Place  and  Peach  Orchard.  B— Where  one  part  of  the  battle  is  said 
to  have  been  fought.  C — Old  Iron  Works.  D — Glendale  or  Bivingsville.  E — Peach  Tree 
Grave.     F — Pacolet  Hill,     G — Cedar  Spring. 

suitable  ground  was  chosen,  and  the  men  formed  for  battle, 
when  the  spies  came  running  in  with  the  information  that 
the  enemy's  horse  were  almost  in  sight.  Before  their  re- 
tirement from  their  former  temporary  camp  at  Fair  Forest, 
Josiah  Culbertson,  one  of  the  bravest  of  young  men,  who 
had  recently  joined  Shelby,  had  obtained  permission  to 
return  home,  two  or  three  miles  distant  on  Fair  Forest, 
spend  the  night,  and  make  such  observations  as  he  might, 
of  any  enemy  in  that  quarter.  About  day-light  the  next 
morning,  he  rode  fearlessly  into  the  encampment  he  had 
left  the  evening  before,  supposing  it  still  to  be   occupied 

92  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

by  his  American  friends,  not  knowing  that  they  had  de- 
camped, and  Dunhip  had  just  taken  possession  of  it.  But 
Culbertson  \\'as  equal  to  the  emergenc}',  for,  seeing  ever}-- 
thing  so  different  from  what  it  was  the  previous  evening,  he 
was  quick  to  disco^•er  his  mistake  ;  and  with  extraordinar}^ 
coolness  and  presence  of  mind,  he  rode  ver^-  leisurely  out 
of  the  encampment,  with  his  ti^usty  rifle  resting  on  the  pom- 
mel of  his  saddle  before  him.  As  he  passed  along,  he  ob- 
served the  dragoons  getting  their  horses  in  readiness,  and 
making  other  preparations  indicating  an  immediate  renewal 
of  their  line  of  march.  No  particular  notice  was  taken  of 
him  in  the  British  camp,  as  it  was  supposed  that  he  was  one 
of  their  own  men,  who  had  got  ready  for  the  onward  move- 
ment before  his  fellows.  But  when  out  of  sight,  he  dashed 
olT  with  good  speed  in  the  direction  he  inferred  that  Clarke 
and  Shelbj'  had  gone,  and  soon  overtook  his  friends,  and 
found  they  had  chosen  their  ground,  and  were  prepared  for 
the  onslaught. 

Major  Dunlap  was  an  officer  of  much  energ}'  and 
promptitude,  and  soon  made  his  appearance,  with  a  strong 
force,  part  Colonial  dragoons  and  part  mounted  militia, 
and  commenced  the  conflict.  The  Whigs  were  as  eager 
for  the  fray  as  the  over-confident  Britons.  The  action 
lasted  half  an  hour,  and  was  severely  contested.  Dun- 
lap's  mounted  volunteer  riflemen,  it  is  said,  who  were  in 
front,  recoiled,  giving  back  at  the  verj^  first  fire  of  their  op- 
ponents, and  their  commander  found  it  difficult  to  rally 
them,  riaving  at  length  succeeded,  he  placed  himself  at 
the  head  of  his  dragoons,  and  led  them  on  to  renew  the 
contest,  followed  by  the  mounted  riflemen,  who  were,  how- 
ever, averse  to  coming  into  very  close  quarters.  Dunlap's 
dragoons,  with  their- broad-swords,  played  a  prominent  part 
in  the  action  ;  and  from  the  disproportion  of  Tories  killed 
over  the  dragoons,  according  to  the  British  account,  which 
is  doubtful,  it  would  appear  that  Clarke  and  Shelby's  rifle- 
men must  have  been  busy  in  picking  them  off".     During  the 


mentioned  the  cii-cumstance  of  his  ceasing,  in  the  midst  of 
the  battle,  to  witness,  with  astonishment  and  admiration,  the 
remarkable  and  unequal  struggle  Clarke  was  maintaining 
with  his  foes.  In  the  fierce  hand-to-hand  contest,  he  re- 
ceived two  sabre  wounds,  one  on  the  back  of  his  neck,  and 
the  other  on  his  head — his  stock-buckle  saving  his  life  ;  and 
he  was  even,  for  a  few  minutes,  a  prisoner,  in  charge  of  two 
stout  Britons  ;  but,  taking  advantage  of  his  strength  and 
acrivity,  he  knocked  one  of  them  down,  when  the  other 
quickly  fled  out  of  the  reach  of  this  famous  back-woods 
Titan.  Clarke  was  every  inch  a  hero,  and  was  indebted 
to  his  own  good  pluck  and  prowess  for  his  escape  from  his 
enemies,  with  only  shght  wounds,  and  the  loss  of  his  hat,  in 
the  ■mcIee.'': 

Culbertson,  with  his  characteristic  daring,  had  a  personal 
adventure  worthy  of  notice.  Meeting  a  dragoon,  some 
distance  from  support,  who  imperiousl}^  demanded  his  sur- 
render, the  intrepid  American  replied  by  whipping  his  rifle 
to  his  shoulder  and  felling  the  haughty  Briton  from  his 
horse.  When  the  dead  were  buried  the  next  day,  this 
dragoon  was  thrown  into  a  hole  near  where  he  lay,  and 
covered  with  earth.  He  happened  to  have  at  the  time  some 
peaches  in  his  pocket,  from  which  a  peach  tree  grew,  and 
for  many  years  after,  bore  successive  crops  of  fruit.  The 
grave  is  yet  pointed  out,  but  the  peach  tree  has  long  since 
disappeared.  A  worthy  person  in  that  region  recently  died 
nearly  a  hundred  years  of  age,  who  used  to  relate  that  he 
had,  in  early  life,  eaten  fi-uitfrom  that  tree.f  The  graves  of 
some  twenty  or  thirty  others,  who  fell  in  this  engagement, 
says  Governor  Perry,  were  yet  to  be  seen  as  late  as   1842. 

*McCall  mentions  that  Colonel  Clarke  and  his  son  were  wounded  both  at  Wufford's 
Iron  Works  and  at  Musgrove's,  giving  the  particulars  as  occurring  at  the  latter;  while 
Shelby  notices  their  having  been  wounded  only  at  the  former,  instancing  his  heroic  ren- 
contre there  ;  and  an  eye-witness,  William  Smith,  of  Tennessee,  relates  that  Clarke  received 
a  sword  wound  in  the  neck,  and  lost  his  hat  near  WofFord's,  returning  to  McDowell's  camp 

-|-MS.  letters  of  N.  F.  Walker,  Esq.,  of  Cedar  Spring,  June  15th  and  July  7th,  1880. 

94  KING '  S  MO  UN  TAIN 

It  is  questionable,  however,  if  so  many,  on  both  sides,  were 
killed  in  the  action.* 

By  some  adroit  management,  a  number  of  British  pris- 
oners were  captured,  and  at  length  Dunlap  was  beaten 
back  with  considerable  loss.  Mills  states  that  he  was  pur- 
sued a  mile,  but  could  not  be  overtaken.  About  two  miles 
below  the  battle-ground,  Dunlap's  fugitives  were  met  by 
Ferguson  with  his  whole  force,  who  together  advanced 
to  the  Iron  Works,  from  which,  as  they  came  in  sight, 
a  few  hours  after  the  action,  Clarke  and  Shelby  were 
compelled  to  make  a  hasty  retreat,  leaving  one  or  two  of 
their  wounded  behind  them — not  having  time  or  conveni- 
ences to  convey  them  away ;  but  they  were  treated  by 
Ferguson  with  humanity,  and  left  there  when  he  retired. 
As  Clarke  and  Shelby  expected,  Ferguson  now  pursued 
them,  with  the  hope  of  regaining  the  prisoners.  The 
American  leaders  retired  slowly,  forming  frequently  on  the 
most  advantageous  ground  to  give  battle,  and  so  retarding 
the  pursuit,  that  the  iirisoners  were  finally  placed  beyond 

Three  miles  north-east  of  the  old  Iron  Works,  they 
came  to  Pacolet ;  just  beyond  which,  skirting  its  north- 
east border,  rises  a  steep,  rocky  hill,  fifty  to  sixty  feet  high, 
so  steep  where  the  road  passed  up  at  that  day,  that  the 
men,  in  some  cases,  had  to  help  their  horses  up  its  difficult 
ascent.  Along  the  crest  of  this  hill  or  ridge,  Shelby  and 
Clarke  displayed  their  little  force  ;  and  when  Ferguson  and 
his  men  came  in  view,  evincing  a  disinclination  to  pursue 
any  farther,  the  patriots,  from  their  vantage-ground,  ban- 
tered and  ridiculed  them  to  their  hearts'  content.  But 
Ferguson,  having  maintained  the  chase  four  or  five  miles, 

*  Major  A.  J.  Wells,  of  Montevallo,  Alabama,  a  native  cf  Spartanburg,  ni.rrates  a 
singular  incident  which  must  relate  to  this  battle.  After  the  war,  the  widow  of  a  Tory 
came  to  the  neglected  burial  place,  and  had  the  fallen  dead  disinterred,  from  which  she 
readily  selected  the  remains  of  her  husband,  for  he  was  six  and  a  half  feet  high,  and  piously 
bore  them  to  her  distant  home  for  a  more  Christian  interment. 


now  abandoned  it,  with  nothing  to  boast  of,  save  his 
superior  numbers.* 

Mr.  Saye's  account  of  this  affair,  as  gathered  from  the 
traditions  of  the  neighborhood,  and  published  thirty-three 
years  ago,  may  very  properl}^  supplement  the  narrative  just 
related — with  the  passing  remark,  that  what  he  describes  as 
the  battle  at  the  peach-orchard,  was  probably  but  one  of 
the  episodes  of  that  day's  heroic  exploits,  and  yet  it  ma}' 
have  been  the  principal  one :  Shelby's  force  occupied  a 
position  near  the  present  site  of  Bivingsville.  Various 
attempts  were  made  to  fall  upon  the  Americans  by  surprise  ; 
but  these  schemes  were  baffled.  About  four  miles  from 
Spartanburg  Court  House,  on  the  main  road  to  Unionville, 
is  an  ancient  plantation  known  as  'Thompson's  Old  Place.' 
It  is  an  elevated  tract  of  country,  lying  between  the  tribu- 
taries of  Fair  Forest  Creek  on  one  side,  and  those  of  Law- 
son's  Fork  of  Pacolet  on  the  other — and  about  midway 
between  Cedar  Spring  and  the  Iron  Works. 

A  road  leading  from  North  Carolina  to  Georgia,  by  the 
way  of  the  Cherokee  Ford  of  Broad  river,  passed  through 
this  place,  and  thence  by  or  near  the  Cedar  Spring.  A 
person  passing  from  the  direction  of  Unionville  towards 
Spartanburg  Court  House,  crosses  this  ancient  highway, 
after  passing  which,  by  looking  to  the  right,  the  eye  rests 
upon  a  parcel  of  land  extending  down  a  hollow,  which  was 
cleared  and  planted  in  fruit  trees  prior  to  the  Revolutionary 
war.  Beyond  this  hollow,  just  where  the  road  enters  a 
body  of  woodland,  there  are  yet  some  traces  of  a  human 
habitation.  In  this  orchard,  two  patrol  parties  met  from  the 
adverse  armies.  The  party  from  Dunlap's  camp  were  in 
the  orchard  gathering  peaches  ;  the  Liberty  men  fired  on 
them,  and  drove  them  from  the  place.  In  turn,  the  victors 
entered  the  orchard,  but  the  report  of  their  guns  brought  out 

*  MS  notes  of  conversations  with  the  late  Colonel  George  Wilson,  of  Nashville,  Ten- 
nessee, who  derived  the  facts  from  his  father-in-law,  Alexander  Greer,  one  of  Major 
Robertson's  men  on  the  expedition.  MS.  letters  of  Hon.  Simpson  Bobo  and  A,  H. 
Twichell,  showing  the  locality  of  the  Pacolet  hill. 


a  strong  detachment  from  the  Cedar  Spring,  as  well  as  a 
reinforcement  from  Shelby.  The  commander  of  the  patrol, 
when  he  saw  the  enemy  approaching,  drew  up  his  men 
under  cover  of  the  fence  along  the  ridge,  just  where  the  old 
field  and  woodland  now  meet,  and  where  traces  of  an  old 
residence  are  now  barely  visible.  Here  he  awaited  their 

The  onset  was  furious,  but  vigorously  met.  The  conflict 
was  maintained  against  fearful  odds  till  the  arrival  of 
reinforcements  from  Shelby's  camp.  The  scale  now 
turned,  and  the  assailants  now  fell  back.  The  whole  force 
of  Shelby  and  Clarke  were  soon  in  battle  array,  confronted 
by  the  whole  British  advance,  numbering  six  or  seven  hun- 
dred men.  The  struggle  was  renewed  with  redoubled  fury. 
The  Liberty  men  drove  back  their  foes,  when  the  whole 
British  army  came  up.  A  retreat  was  now  a  matter  of 
necessity.  Such  is  the  local  tradition  ;  but  local  tradition, 
especially  in  this  case,  is  extremely  liable  to  error  and  con- 
fusion, from  the  fact  that  but  few  of  the  people  of  that  quar- 
ter were  present  in  the  action — for  the  actors  were  mostly 
from  other  States,  and  probably  strangers  to  the  neighbor- 
hood.    Thus  far,  Mr.  Saye's  narrative. 

Onl)'  two  British  accounts  of  the  action  at  Cedar  Spring 
have  come  to  our  knowledge — one  bears  date  Savannah, 
Georgia,  August  twenty-fourth,  1780.  It  appeared  in  Riv- 
mgton's  TVezt'  2'drk  Royal  Gazette^  of  September  fourteenth, 
copied  into  the  London  Chronicle,  of  November  sixteenth, 
ensuing.  It  has  every  appearance  of  being  a  one-sided  and 
diminuitve  statement  of  the  affair  :  "  We  learn  from  Augusta, 
that  a  Captain  of  the  Queen's  Rangers,  with  twenty-four 
dragoons,  and  about  thirty  militia,  lately  charged  about 
three  hundred  Rebels  above  Ninety  Six.  Whilst  they  were 
engaged.  Colonel  Ferguson  happily  got  up  with  some  men 
to  the  assistance  of  our  small  party,  which  obliged  the 
enemy  to  take  to  their  heels.  Fifty  of  the  Rebels  were 
killed  and  wounded  ;  a  Major  Smith  was  among  the  slain, 




and  a  Lieutenant-Colonel  Clarke  was  wounded,  and  died 
next  day.  Our  loss  is  said  to  be  one  dragoon  and  seven 
militia  killed." 

Allaire  supplies  the  other  account  :  "  Got  to  the  ground 
the  Rebels  were  encamped  on,  at  four  o'clock  on  Tuesday 
morning,  August  eighth.  They  had  intelligence  of  our 
move,  and  were  likewise  alarmed  by  the  firing  of  a  gun  in 
our  ranks  ;  they  sneaked  from  their  ground  about  half  an 
hour  before  we  arrived.  Learning  that  the  Rebel  wagons 
were  three  miles  in  front  of  us  at  Cedar  Springs,  Captain 
Dunlap,  with  fourteen  mounted  men,  and  a  hundred  and 
thirty  militia,  were  dispatched  to  take  the  wagons.  He  met 
three  Rebels  coming  to  reconnoitre  our  camp  ;  he  pursued, 
took  two  of  them,  the  other  escaped,  giving  the  Rebels  the 
alarm.  In  pursuit  of  this  man,  Dunlap  and  his  part}' 
rushed  into  the  centre  of  the  Rebel  camp,  where  they  lay 
in  ambush,  before  he  was  aware  of  their  presence.  A 
skirmish  ensued,  in  which  Dunlap  got  slightly  wounded, 
and  had  between  twenty  and  thirty  killed  and  wounded — 
Ensign  McFarland  and  one  private  taken  prisoners.  The 
Rebel  loss  is  uncertain — a  Major  Smith,  Captain  Potts,  and 
two  privates  were  left  dead  on  the  field.  Colonel  Clarke, 
Johnson  [Robertson,]  and  twenty  privates  were  seen 
wounded.  We  pursued  them  five  miles,  to  the  Iron  Works  ; 
but  were  not  able  to  overtake  them,  they  being  all  mounted." 

Among  the  slain  was  Major  Burwell  Smith,  who  had 
contributed  greatly  to  the  setdement  of  the  frontier  portion 
of  Georgia,  where  he  had  been  an  active  and  successful 
partisan  in  Indian  warfare,  and  his  fall  was  deeply  lamented 
by  Colonel  Clarke  and  his  associates.  Captain  John  Potts* 
and  Thomas  Scott  were  also  among  the  slain.  Besides 
Colonel  Clarke's  slight  wounds  with  a  sabre,  Major  Charles 
Robertson,  a  volunteer  from  the  Watauga  troops,  and  Cap- 

=^'This  is  stated  on  the  anthority  of  Colo:icI  Graham,  who  participated  in  the  action, 
corroborated  by  Lieutenant  Allaire's  Diary,  A.  H,  Twichel]^  Esq.,  of  Glendale,  states  as 
the  tradition  of  an  old  resident  of  that  region,  that  an  American  officer  named  Potter  was 
shot  out  of  a  peach  tree  at  Thompson's  place.     This  doubtless  refers  to  Captain  Potts. 


tain  Jolin  Clarke,  the  youthful  son  of  the  Colonel,  yet  in  his 
teens,  and  several  others,  were  also  wounded  in  the  same 
manner.  This  close  hand-to-hand  sabre  fighting,  which 
McCall  describes,  contradicts  his  previous  description  of  the 
action  as  if  it  were  simply  a  "  distant  firing  "  upon  each 
other.  It  shows,  too,  that  the  back-woods  riflemen  did  not 
take  to  their  heels  on  the  approach  of  the  dragoons  with 
their  glittering  broad-swords. 

It  is  not  easy  to  determine  the  actual  strength  of  the 
parties  engaged  in  this  spirited  contest,  nor  their  respective 
losses.  McCall  does  not  specify  how  many  on  either  side 
took  part  in  the  conflict — only  that  the  Americans  were  out- 
numbered ;  erroneously  naming  Innes  as  the  British  com- 
mander ;  and  states  that  the  enemy  pursued  Colonel  Clarke 
to  Woffbrd's  Iron  Works,  where  he  had  chosen  a  strong 
position  from  which  the  British  endeavored  to  draw 
him,  and  that  a  distant  firing  continued  during  the  after- 
noon, until  near  night ;  that  the  Americans  lost  four  killed 
and  five  or  six  wounded,  while  the  enemjr  lost  five  killed 
and  eleven  wounded.  Mills  mentions  in  one  place  in  his 
work,  that  Clarke's  force  was  one  hundred  and  sixty-eight, 
in  another,  one  hundred  and  ninety-eight,  evidently  ignorant 
of  the  presence  of  Colonels  Shelby  and  Graham,  witli  their 
followers  ;  that  Ferguson  and  Dunlap  combined,  numbered 
between  four  and  six  hundred,  of  which  Dunlap's  advance 
consisted  of  sixty  dragoons  and  one  hundred  and«  fifty 
mounted  volunteer  riflemen  ;  that  the  Americans  had  four 
killed  and  twenty-three  wounded,  all  by  the  broad-sword ; 
while  Dunlap  lost  twenty-eight  of  his  dragoons,  and  six  or 
seven  of  his  Tory  volunteers  killed,  and  several  wounded. 
Shelby,  in  Haywood,  states  Ferguson's  full  force  at  about 
two  thousand  strong — which  Todd  augments  to  twenty-five 
himdred — of  which  Dunlap's  advance  was  reputed  at  six  or 
seven  hundred ;  that  the  strength  of  the  Americans  was  six 
hundred ;  and  acknowledges  that  ten  or  twelve  of  the 
latter  were  killed  and  wounded,  but  does  not  state  the  loss 


of  their  assailants.  Colonel  Graham  gives  no  numbers,  but 
asserts  that  many  of  the  enemj'  were  killed.  These  several 
statements  differ  very  much  from  the  British  reports,  and 
from  each  other. 

In  Shelby's  account  as  originally  pubhshed  in  Hay- 
wood's Tennessee,  and  then  in  Ramsey's,  the  number  of 
prisoners  taken  is  stated  at  "twenty,  with  two  British  offi- 
cers," which  in  Todd's  memoir  of  Shelby,  are  increased  to 
"  fifty,  mostly  British,  including  two  officers  ;  "  and  Colonel 
Graham  in  his  pension  statement,  places  the  number  at 
only  half  a  dozen,  and  Allaire  at  only  two. 

As  to  the  particular  time  in  the  day  in  which  the  contest 
took  place,  there  is  also  quite  a  variety  of  statements. 
Mills  places  it  before  day,  when  so  dark  that  it  was  hard  to 
distinguish  friend  from  foe — his  informant  doubtless  refer- 
ring, not  to  Dunlap's  fight,  but  to  the  prior  attack  upon 
Colonel  Thomas,  at  Cedar  Spring,  which  he  so  signally 
repelled.    , 

McCall  states  that  it  occurred  in  the  afternoon  ;  Shelby 
is  silent  on  this  point ;  while  Governor  Perry's  traditions 
convey  the  idea  that  it  was  in  the  morning  or  fore  part  of 
the  day,  and  in  this  he  is  corroborated  by  Captain  William 
Smith,*  as  well  as  by  the  MS.  Diary  of  Lieutenant 

Colonel  Graham  onlj'-  refers  to  the  time   of  dajr  inferen- 

*  Captain  Smith  was  born  in  Bucks  County,  Pennsylvania,  September  20th,  1751,  and 
earlj'  settled  in  what  is  now  Spartanburg  County,  South  Carolina.  He  served  in  Captain 
Joseph  Wofford's  company  on  the  Snow  campaign,  in  1775  ;  and  the  next  year  as  Lieuten- 
ant on  Willi.amson's  expedition  against  the  Cherokees.  Jd  1777,  he  was  made  a  Captain  in 
the  militia  and  was  stationed  in  Wood's  Fort  on  Tyger.  In  December,  1778,  he  was 
ordered  to  Georgia,  serving  under  General  Lincoln;  and  shared  in  the  battle  of  Stono,  in 
June,  1779;  in  the  contests,  as  we  have  seen,  near  Wofford's  Iron  Works,  Hanging  Rock, 
and  Musgrove's  Mill,  in  August,  1780 ;  and  subsequently  at  the  battle  of  Blackstocks,  in  the 
siege  of  Fort  Granby,  at  Guilford  Court  House,  Quinby  Bridge,  the  affair  at  the  Juniper, 
and  the  capture  of  some  British  vessels  at  Watboo  Landing  under  Colonel  Wade  Hampton. 
In  the  latter  part  of  the  war  he  ranked  as  Major.  After  the  war,  he  was  chosen  County 
Judge,  member  of  Congress  from  1797  to  1799,  and  State  Senator  for  twenty  years.  Few 
men  served  the  public  longer  or  more  faithfully  in  military  and  civil  life  than  judge  Smith. 
He  died  June  22d,  r.837,  in  the  eighty-sixth  year  of  his  age.  His  widow  survived  till 
October  2d,  1842. 

100  A'liVG'S  MOUNTAIN 

tiall}',  b}'  stating  that  it  was  "several  hours"  after  the 
action  before  Ferguson,  with  his  combined  force,  came  in 
sight,  when  Slielby  and  liis  men  precipitately  retired. 

Precisely  where  the  fight  took  place  has  also  been 
a  subject  of  dispute — the  result,  no  doubt,  of  the  general 
vagueness  of  the  descriptions.  Mills  says  it  occurred  at 
the  Green  Springs,  meaning  Cedar  Spring,  near  Wofford's 
old  Iron  Works ;  Shelby  says  at  Cedar  Spring,  as  does 
Samuel  Espy,  of  North  Carolina,  who  was  also  in  the 
action.  Had  these  two  men,  and  Mills'  informant,  stated  the 
locality  with  more  exactitude,  they  might,  and  probably 
would,  have  said,  that  they  named  the  Cedar  Spring  as  a 
permanent  landmark,  near  which  the  contest  transpired, 
and  so  located  it — the  same  as  Gates'  defeat  is  frequently 
referred  to  as  having  occurred  at  Camden,  when  it  really 
took  place  some  seven  miles  distant.  Colonel  Graham,  one 
of  the  prominent  officers  in  that  affair,  refers  to  it  as  "  at 
Wofford's  Iron  Works  ;"  Alexander  McFadden,  a  survivor 
of  the  contest,  speaks  of  it  as  "the  battle  of  Wofford's  Iron 
Works  ;"  while  McCall,  the  historian,  sa3's  the  enemy  pur- 
sued the  Americans  "to  Wofford's  Iron  Works,  where  they 
chose  their  ground,  and  awaited  the  attack." 

William  Smith,  of  Tennessee,  another  survivor  of  the 
contest  says,  "we  had  a  battle  near  Wofford's  Iron  Works  ; " 
and  Captain  William  Smith,  of  Spartanburg,  who  was  an 
intelligent  officer  in  the  fight,  and  resided  within  a  few  miles 
of  the  battle-ground  the  most  of  his  long  life,  states  that  the 
contest  took  place  "near  the  old  Iron  Works.''  His  son, 
Hon.  John  Winsmith,  in  a  historical  address  he  made  at 
Cedar  Spring,  in  1855,  and  verbally  repeated  to  the  writer 
in  1871,  describes  the  hill,  then  covered  with  timber,  nearly 
half  a  mile  north-east  of  Cedar  Spring,  as  the  locality  of 
the  battle.  It  is  possible  that  the  first  half-hour's  contest, 
where  Clarke  had  his  desperate  personal  rencontre  with 
unequal  odds,  may  have  taken  place  near  this  hill,  as  Dr. 
Winsmith  believes.    "  On  this  locality,"  says  N.  F.  Walker, 


"within  my  recollection,  a  musket-barrel  was   found,  and 
near  where  we  think  the  dead  were  buried."* 

But  as  Cedar  Spring  seems  not  to  have  been  on  the 
old  route  pursued  by  the  contending  parties,  the  weight 
of  evidence,  and  all  the  circumstances,  go  to  show  that 
the  chief  fighting  was  "near  the  old  Iron  Works,"  as 
Captain  William  Smith  positively  asserts.  Mr.  Saye's 
traditions  of  the  neighborhood,  collected  there  prior  to 
1848,  fix  the  locality  of,  at  least,  one  portion  of  the  con- 
test, at  the  old  orchard  on  the  Thompson  place,  between  the 
Cedar  Spring  and  the  old  Iron  Works,  about  one  mile  from 
the  former,  and  nearly  two  from  the  latter.  The  fact  that 
the  graves  of  the  Tory  dead,  including  the  one  from  which 
the  peach  tree  sprung,  are  near  the  old  Thompson  orchard, 
and  between  it  and  Cedar  Spring,  sufficiently  attest  the 
locality  where,  at  least,  the  principal  part  of  this  notable 
passage  at  arms  occurred. 

More  space  has  been  devoted  to  these  two  somewhat 
blended  affairs — the  one  at  the  Cedar  Spring,  where  Colo- 
nel Thomas  repulsed  the  enemy,  and  the  other  near  Thomp- 
son's peach-orchard  —  than,  perhaps,  their  real  importance 
in  history  would  seem  to  warrant.  At  the  period  of  their 
occurrence,  they  exerted  a  marked  influence  on  the  people 
of  the  upper  region  of  Carolina,  as  demonstrating  what 
brave  and  determined  men  could  accomplish  in  defense  of 
their  own  and  their  country's  rights  ;  and  how  successfully 
they  could  meet  an  insolent  foe,  alike  in  ambush,  or  on  the 
battle-field.  As  no  contemporary  records  of  these  events 
have  come  down  to  us,  save  the  vague  and  unsatisfactory 
British  ones  which  we  have  given  entire,  and  the  tradition- 
ary accounts  have  become  more  or  less  intermixed  and  con- 
fused, it  seemed  proper  to  sift  them  as  thoroughly  as  possi- 
ble, and  present  the  simple  narrative  of  the  occurrences  as 
the  facts  seem  to  indicate. 

*  It  may  well  have  been  at  this  hill  where  the  previous  Tory  attack  was  made  on 
Colonel  Thomas.  It  was  a  fit  place,  then  covered  with  timber,  to  have  formed  his  success- 
ful ambuscade. 


The  difficulty  has  hitherto  been,  on  the  part  of  histori- 
cal writers,  in  attempts  to  blend  the  two  affairs,  when  the 
time,  details,  and  different  commanding  officers,  all  go  very 
clearly  to  prove  that  they  were  entirely  distinct,  and  had 
no  connection  whatever  with  each  other.  It  is  due  to  the 
Rev.  Mr.  Saye,  to  state  that  he  was  the  first  person  who 
discovered  the  incongruity  of  applying  the  details  to  a  sin- 
gle action  ;  but  he  was  unable  to  fix  their  respective  dates, 
or  determine  which  took  the  precedence  of  the  other  in 
point  of  time.  McCall's  History  of  Georgia  has  furnished 
the  key  to  unlock  the  difficulty  with  reference  to  the  time 
of  the  attack  on  Thomas'  force  at  Cedar  Spring,  and  all  the 
circumstances  go  to  confirm  it ;  while  the  hitherto  unpub- 
lished Diary  of  Lieutenant  Allaire  determines  the  date  of 
the  affair  near  Wofford's  Iron  Works.* 

*The  authorities  consulted  in  the  preparation  of  this  notice  of  the  action  near  Cedar 
Spring  and  Wofford's  Iron  Works,  are:  McCall's  Georgia,  ii.  314;  Haywood's  Tennessee, 
64-65;  Mills'  Statistics  of  South  Carolina,  256,738-39;  Todd's  Meinoir  0/ Shelby :  Governor 
Perry's  account  in  the  Magnolia  Magazine,  August,  1842  ;  New  York  Royal  Gazette,  Sep- 
tember 14th,  1780;  London  Chronicle,  November  i6th,  1780;  Saye's  Memoir  of  Mcfunkin, 
and  the  Saye  MSS.;  MSS.  of  Dr.  John  H,  Logan  ;  Allaire's  MS.  Diary;  Winsmith's  Ad- 
dress^ 1855  ;  together  with  the  MS.  pension  statements  of  Colonel  William  Graham,  Cap- 
tain William  Smith,  of  Spartanburg,  Samuel  Espy,  Alexander  McFadden,  and  William 
Smith,  of  Tennessee,  all  participants  in  the  action  ;  also  MS.  notes  of  conversations  with 
Colonel  George  Wilson,  of  Tennessee.  I  am  indebted  to  N,  F,  Walker,  Esq.,  of  Cedar 
Spring,  and  A.  H.  Twichell,  Esq.,  of  Glendale,  for  traditions,  and  descriptions  of  the 
localities  connected  with  the  battle  and  the  retreat. 

Ramsay,  Moultrie,  Lee"s  Memoirs,  Johnson's  Greene,  and  other  early  writers,  do  not 
even  notice  this  action  ;  nor  such  modern  historians  as  Bancroft,  Hildreth,  and  Stevens. 
Lossing,  Wheeler,  Simms,  Ramsey's  Tennessee,  and  O'Neall's  Nenuberry  briefly  refer  to  it ; 
while  Mrs.  Ellet,  in  her  Women  of  the  Revolution,  and  her  Domestic  History  of  the  Revo- 
lution, simply  copies  from  Mills,  misapplying  the  story  of  .Mrs.  Dillard's  adventure. 

I  have  not  cited  what  passes  for  Colonel  Hammond's  account  of  the  battle,  in  a  news- 
paper series,  and  also  in  Johnson's  Traditions  of  the  Reziohition,  simply  because  he  could 
not  have  written  it;  but  it  was  evidently  manufactured  from  Mills'  Statistics,  with  some 
imaginary  interlardings,  to  give  it  a  new  appearance.  Dawson,  in  his  Battles  of  the  United 
Statesj  has  given  a  chapter  on  this  affair^  based  on  the  pretended  Hammond  narrative. 



1780— August  18. 

Musgroves  Mill  Expedition  and  Battle. — Rencontre  of  the  Patrol  Par- 
ties.— British  Alarm. — Information  of  the  Enemy's  Reinforce^nent. 
—  Whigs  throw  up  Breast-works. —  Captain  Inmari s  Stratagem. — 
Enemy  Drawn  into  the  Net  prepared  for  them. — Desperate  Fight- 
ing.— Innes  and  other  British  Leaders  Wounded. —  Tory  Colonel 
Clary's  Escape. —  Captain  Inman  Killed  —  The  Retreat  and  the 
Rout. — Incidents  at  the  Ford. — Sam  Moore's  Adventure. —  The  Brit- 
ish and  Tory  Reserve. — A  British  Patrol  Returns  too  late  to  share 
inthe  Battle. — Bicrial  of  the  slain. — Length  and  severity  of  the  Actioft. 
— Respective  Losses. — News  of  Gates'  Defeat — its  Influence. —  Whigs' 
Retreat. — Anecdote  of  Paul  Hinson.^-  The  Prisoners. —  Williatns'  Re- 
ward.—  Cprnwallis'  Confession. —  Comparison  of  Authorities. 

Returning  from  their  Fair  Forest  expedition,  Clarke 
and  Shelby's  men  needed  a  little  repose.  McDowell  soon 
after  removed  his  camp  from  the  Cherokee  Ford,  taking 
post,  some  ten  miles  below,  on  the  eastern  bank  of 
Broad  River,  at  Smith's  Ford.  By  his  faithful  scouts, 
Colonel  McDowell  was  kept  well  informed  of  Ferguson's 
movements  and  out-posts.  Learning  that  a  body  of  some 
two  hundi-ed  Loyalists  were  stationed  at  Musgrove's  Mill, 
some  forty  miles  distant  on  the  Enoree,  to  guard  the  rocky 
ford  at  that  place,  it  was  regarded  as  a  vulnerable  point — 
all  the  more  so,  since  Ferguson,  with  his  main  force,  was 
stationed  considerably  in  advance,  between  that  place  and 
the  American  encampment,  thus  tending  to  lull  into  security 
those  in  their  rear. 

The  term  of  enlistment  of  Colonel  Shelby's  regiment 
was  about  to  expire,  and  that  enterprising  officer  was 
desirous  of  engaging  in  another  active  service  before  retir- 
ing to  his  home  on  the  Holston.      Colonels  Shelby  and 


Clarke  were  appointed  to  lead  a  party  of  mounted  men  to 
surprise  or  attack  the  Loyalists  at  Musgrove's.  With  Clarke 
was  Captain  James  McCall  and  Captain  Samuel  Hammond. 
Colonel  James  Williams,  whose  home  was  in  that  region, 
but  who  had  been  driven  from  it,  had,  on  the  sixteenth  of 
August,  joined  McDowell  with  a  few  followers — prominent 
among  whom  were  Colonel  Thomas  Brandon,  Colonel  James 
Steen,  and  Major  Mcjunkin  ;  and  these  united  with  Shelby 
and  Clarke,  together  with  several  other  experienced  officers, 
who  volunteered  to  share  in  the  enterprise,  among  whom 
were  Major  Joseph  McDowell,  the  brother  of  the  Colonel, 
Captain  David  Vance,  and  Captain  Valentine  Sevier,  and 
with  the  latter,  a  number  of  Watauga  and  Nolachucky- rifle- 

It  was  largely  rumored,  that  a  military  chest  was  either 
at  Musgrove's,  or  was  being  conveyed  from  Ninety  Six  to 
Ferguson's  camp  ;  and  the  Whigs  hoped  to  intercept  it  on 
the  way.  Whatever  influence  this  prospect  of  obtaining 
British  treasure  may  have  exerted  on  the  volunteers,  as  we 
hear  no  more  of  the  chest,  we  may  conclude  that  it  was  a 
camp  5'arn,  gotten  up  for  the  occasion;  or,  if  a  reality,  it 
certainly  eluded  the  grasp  of  the  adventurers. 

Secrecy  and  dispatch  were  necessary  to  success.  A 
night  march  was  therefore  chosen,  when  less  likely  to  be 
observed,  and  cooler  for  the  horses  to  travel.  Shelby  and 
his  two  hundred  adventurous  followers  left  camp  an  hour 
before  sun-down,  on  the  seventeenth  of  August.  Williams, 
Brandon,  and  their  men,  were  well  acquainted  with  the 
country,  and  knew  the  best  route  to  effect  their  purpose. 
They  traveled  through  the  woods  until  dark,  when  they  fell 
into  a  road,  and  proceeded  on  all  night,  much  of  the  way  in 
a  canter,  and  without  making  a  single  stop  —  crossing 
Gilky's  and  Thicketty  creeks,  Pacolet,  Fair  Forest,  and 
Tj'ger,  with  other  lesser  streams,  and  passing  within  three 
or  four  miles  of  Ferguson's  camp  on  their  left,  v\'hich  was, 
at  this  time,  at  Fair  Forest  Shoal,  in  Brandon's  settlement, 


some  t\vent3'-six  miles  from  Smith's  Ford ;  and  from  Fair 
Forest  Shoal,  it. was  still  twelve  or  fourteen  miles  to  Mus- 
grove's.     It  was  a  hard  night's  ride. 

Arriving,  near  the  dawn  of  da}-,  within  a  mile  nearlj' 
north  of  Musgrove's  Ford,  the  Whig  party  halted  at  an  old 
Indian  field,  and  sent  out  a  party  of  five  or  six  scouts  to 
reconnoitre  the  situation.  They  crossed  the  mouth  of  Cedar 
Shoal  Creek,  close  to  the  Spartanburg  line,  a  short  distance 
below  Musgrove's  Mill,  and  then  passed  up  a  by-road  to 
Head's  Ford,  a  mile  above  Musgrove's,  where  they  forded 
the  Enoree,  and  stealthily  approached  sufficiently  near  the 
Tory  camp  to  make  observations.  Returning  the  same 
route,  when  on  the  top  of  the  river  ridge,  west  of  Cedar 
Shoal  creek,  they  encountered  a  small  Tory  patrol,  which 
had  passed  over  at  Musgrove's  Ford,  during  their  absence 
above,  and  thus  gained  their  rear.  A  sharp  firing  ensued, 
when  one  of  the  enemy  was  killed,  two  wounded,  and  two 
fled  precipitately  to  the  Tory  camp.  Two  of  the  Ameri- 
cans were  slightly  wounded,  who,  with  their  fellows,  now 
promptly  returned  to  Shelby  and  Clarke's  halting  place, 
with  the  intelligence  they  had  gained,  and  the  particulars 
of  their  skirmish. 

This  firing,  and  the  speedy  arrival  of  the  two  patrol- 
men, put  the  Tory  camp  in  wild  commotion.  Colonel 
Innes,  Major  Fraser,  and  other  officers  who  had  their  head- 
quarters at  Edward  Musgrove's  residence,  held  a  hurried 
council.  Innes  was  for  marching  over  the  river  at  once, 
and  catching  the  Rebels  before  they  had  time  to  retreat ; 
while  others  contended  for  delay,  at  least  till  after  break- 
fast, by  which  time,  it  was  hoped,  a  party  of  one  hundred 
mounted  men,  who  had  gone  on  a  patrol,  eight  miles  below, 
near  Jones'  Ford,  would  return,  and  thus  add  very  materi- 
ally to  their  strength.  But  Innes'  counsels  prevailed,  lest 
they  should  miss  so  fine  an  opportunity  "to  bag"  a  scurvy 
lot  of  ragamuffins,  as  they  regarded  the  adventurous  Ameri- 
cans.    So  leaving  one  hundred  men  in  camp  as  a  reserve, 


preparations  were  made  for  an  immediate  advance  to  meet 
the  unexpected  invaders. 

Meanwhile,  Shelby  and  Clarke  had  taken  position  on  a 
timbered  ridge,  some  little  distance  east  of  Cedar  Shoal 
creek,  and  within  about  half  a  mile  of  Musgrove's  Ford  and 
Mill.  At  this  juncture,  a  countryman,  who  lived  near  by, 
came  up,  giving  information  that  the  British  had  been  rein- 
forced the  preceding  evening,  by  the  arrival  of  Colonel 
Alexander  Innes,  from  Ninety  Six,  with  two  hundred  men 
of  the  Provincial  regiments,  and  one  hundred  Tories,  des- 
tined to  join  Colonel  Ferguson.  A  British  writer  represents, 
that  Innes'  detachment  consisted  of  a  light  infantry  com- 
.  pany  of  the  New  Jersey  Volunteers,  under  Captain  Peter 
Campbell ;  a  company  of  De  Lancey's  Provincial  Battalion, 
under  Captain  James  Kerr,  together  with  about  one  hundred 
mounted  men  of  his  own  regiment,  the  South  Carolina 
Royalists.  This  could  not  have  included  the  regular  garri- 
son previously  stationed  there,  apparently  under  the  com- 
mand of  Major  Fraser.  Captain  Abraham  De  Peyster,  of 
the  King's  American  regiment,  as  well  as  the  noted  Loyalist 
partisan.  Captain  David  Fanning,  were  also  there ;  while 
Colonel  Daniel  Clary  was  encamped  there,  at  the  head  of 
the  Tories  of  that  region. 

So  minute  were  the  circumstances  of  the  information 
communicated  by  the  countryman,  that  no  doubt  was  enter- 
tained of  its  truth ;  and  to  march  on  and  attack  the  enemy 
appeared  rash,  and  to  attempt  a  successful  retreat,  wearied 
and  broken  down  as  the  horses  were,  seemed  almost  im- 
possible. Colonel  Shelby  and  his  associates  instantly  con- 
cluded, that  they  had  no  alternative  —  fight  they  must. 
Securing  their  horses  in  their  rear,  they  resolved  to  impro- 
vise a  breast-work  of  logs  and  brush,  and  make  the  best 
defense  possible.  Their  lines  were  formed  across  the  road, 
at  least  three  hundred  yards  in  length,  along  the  ridge,  in 
a  semi-circle,  and  both  protected  and  concealed  by  a  wood. 
Old  logs,  fallen  trees  and  brush  were  hurried  into  place,  so 


that  in  thirty  minutes  they  had  a  very  respectable  protection, 
breast-high.  Shelby  occupied  the  right — Clarke  the  left; 
and  Williams  in  the  center,  though  with  no  special  com- 
mand, for  the  whole  force  formed  one  extended  line.  A 
party  of  some  twenty  horsemen  were  placed  on  each  flank, 
shielded,  as  much  as  possible,  from  the  enemy's  observa- 
tion— Josiah  Culbertson  having  the  command  of  that  on 
Shelby's  right ;  and  Colonel  Clarke  had  a  reserve  of  forty 
men  within  calling  distance. 

Captain  Shadrach  Inman,  who  had  figured  prominently 
in  battling  the  British  and  Tories  in  Georgia,  was  sent  for- 
ward, with  about  twenty-five  mounted  men,  with  orders  to 
fire  upon,  and  provoke  the  enemy  to  cross  the  ford,  and 
skirmish  with  them,  at  his  discretion ;  and  retire,  drawing 
the  British  into  the  net  which  Shelby  and  Clarke  had  so 
adroitly  prepared  for  them .  This  stratagem ,  which  was  the 
suggestion  of  the  Captain  himself,  worked  admirably,  for 
the  British  infantry  seemed  elated  with  their  success  in 
driving  Inman  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet ;  but  the  Whig 
Captain  kept  up  a  show  of  fighting  and  retreating.  While 
the  enemy  were  yet  two  hundred  yards  distant  from  the 
American  breast-works,  they  hastily  formed  into  line  of 
battle  ;  and  as  they  advanced  fifty  yards  nearer,  they  opened 
a  heavy  fire,  pretty  generally  over-shooting  their  antago- 
nists. When  trees  were  convenient,  the  frontiermen  made 
use  of  them,  while  others  were  shielded  behind  their  rudety 
constructed  barrier,  and,  to  some  extent,  availed  themselves 
also  of  a  fence  extending  along  the  road.  The  Americans 
had  been  cautioned  to  reserve  their  fire  ' '  till  they  could  see 
the  whites  of  the  Tories'  eyes ;"  or,  as  another  has  it,  "till 
they  could  distinguish  the  buttons  on  their  clothes" — nor 
even  then  to  discharge  their  rifles,  until  orders  were  given, 
when  each  man  was  "to  take  his  object  sure."  These 
orders  were  strictly  obeyed. 

The  British  center,  on  whom  Inman  made  his  feigned 
attacks,  seeing  him  retire  in  apparent  confusion,  pressed 


forward,  under  beat  of  drum  and  bugle  charge,  in  pursuit, 
but  in  considerable  disorder,  shouting:  "  Huzza  for  King 
George  !  "'  On  approaching  within  seventy  yards  of  the 
American  lines,  they  were  unexpectedly  met  with  a  deadly 
fire,  from  which  they  at  first  recoiled.  But  their  superi- 
ority in  numbers  enabled  them  to  continue  their  attack, 
notwithstanding  the  advantage  which  the  breast-work 
gave  the  Americans.  A  strong  force,  composed  of  the 
Provincials,  led  on  by  Innes  and  Fraser,  forming  the 
enemy's  left  wing,  drove,  at  the  point  of  the  bciyonet, 
the  right  wing  under  Shelby  from  their  breast-work. 
It  was  a  desperate  struggle — Shelby's  men  contending 
against  large  odds,  and  the  right  flank  of  his  right  wing 
gradually  giving  away,  whilst  his  left  flank  maintained  its 
connection  with  the  centre  at  the  breast-work.  The  left 
wing,  opposed  by  the  Tories,  retained  its  position  ;  and,  see- 
ing Shelby  in  need  of  succor,  Clarke  sent  his  small  reserve 
to  his  aid,  which  proved  a  most  timely  relief.  At  this  criti- 
cal moment,  as  Innes  was  forcing  Shelby's  right  flank,  the 
British  leader  was  badly  disabled,  fell  from  his  charger,  and 
was  carried  back — shot,  it  was  reported,  by  one  of  the 
Watauga  volunteers,  William  Smith,  who  exultingly  "ex- 
claimed, "I've  killed  their  commander,"  when  Shelby 
rallied  his  men,  who  raised  a  regular  frontier  Indian  yell, 
and  rushed  furiously  upon  the  enemy,  who  were  gradually 
forced  back  before  the  exasperated  riflemen.  Culbertson's 
flanking  party  acted  a  conspicuous  part  on  this  occasion. 

It  was  unfortunate  for  the  enemy,  that,  in  this  desperate 
contest,  one  Captain  was  killed,  and  five  out  of  seven  of  the 
surviving  officers  of  their  Pro\incial  corps  were  wounded. 
Besides  Innes,  shot  down  by  Smith,  another  Watauga  rifle- 
man, Robert  Beene,  wounded  Major  Fraser,  who  was  seen 
to  reel  from  his  horse.  Captain  Campbell,  together  with 
Lieutenants  Camp  and  William  Chew,  were  also  among 
the  wounded.* 

•:' Colonel  Innes  was  a  Scotchman.     He  was  probably  a/w/^^*?  of  his  countryman,  Alex- 
ander Cameron,  the  British  Indian  Agent  among  the  Cherokees  ;  and  was,  it  would  appear, 


These  heav}'  losses  had  a  very  disheartening  effect  upon 
the  British  troops.  And  the  Tories,  faihng  to  make  any 
impression  on  Clarke's  line,  and  having  already  lost  several 
of  their  officers,  and  many  of  their  men,  began  to  show  signs 
of  wavering,  when  Captain  Hawsey,  a  noted  leader  among 
them,  who  was  striving  to  re-animate  the  Loyalists,  and 
reti"ieve  the  fortunes  of  the  day,  was  shot  down.  In  the 
midst  of  the  confusion  that  followed,  Clarke  and  his  brave 
men,  following  Shelby's  example,  pushed  forth  from  their 
barrier,  yelling,  shooting  and  slashing  on  every  hand.  It 
was  in  the  mcISe,  when  the  British  defeat  was  too  apparent, 
that  the  Tory  Colonel  Clary  had  the  opposite  bits  of  his 
horse's  bridle  seized  at  the  same  moment  by  two  stalwart 
Whigs.  He  had,  however,  the  ingenuity  and  presence  of 
mind  to  extricate  himself  from  his  perilous  situation  by 
exclaiming — "  D — n  you,  don't  you  know  3'our  own 
officers  !  "  He  was  instantly  released,  and  fled  at  full  speed.* 
The  British  and  Tories  were  now  in  full  retreat,  closely 
followed  by  the  intrepid  mountaineers.  It  was  in  this  excit- 
ing pursuit  that  the  courageous  Captain  Inman  was  killed, 
while  pressing  the  enemj-,  and  fighting  them  hand-to- 
hand.  He  received  seven  shots  from  the  Tories,  one, 
a  musket  ball,  piercing  his  forehead.  He  fell  near  the  base 
of  a  Spanish  oak  that  stood  where  the  modern  road  leaves 
the  old  mill  road,   and    where  his  grave  was  still  pointed 

an  assistant  commissary  at  the  Long  Island  of  Holston,  at  one  time;  and  in  the  fall  of 
^-jjj^  returned  to  the  Cherokee  nation,  taking  up  his  quarters  with  Cameron.  He  was 
commissioned  Colonel  of  the  South  Carolina  Royalists,  January  20,  1780;  in  1782,  he  was 
Inspector  General  of  the  Loyalist  forces.  Colonel  Hanger,  in  his  Kcjily  to  Mackenzie's 
Strictures  states  that  Innes  was  living  retired  in  17S9,  probably  on  half-pay. 

Of  Major  Fraser,  who  was  wounded  in  this  engagement,  we  have  no  further  knowl- 
edge. Captain  Campbell  was  of  Trenton,  New  Jersey,  settled  in  New  Brunswick,  after 
peace  was  declared,  on  half-pay,  dying  in  Maugersville  in  that  Colony  in  1822,  and  was 
buried  at  Frederickton.  Lieutenant  Chew  retired  at  the  close  of  the  war,  on  half-pay,  to 
New  Brunswick,  dying  at  Frederickton,  in  1812,  aged  sixty-four.  Of  Lieutenant  Camp  s 
career,  before  or  after  the  affair  at  Musgrove's  Mill,  we  have  no  information. 

*  Colonel  Clarey  was  a  prominent  citizen  of  Ninety  Six  District;  and  surviving  the 
war,  remained  in  the  country.  Notwithstanding  his  great  error  in  siding  with  the  Tories, 
he  was  greatly  beloved,  .nnd.  in  after  life,  performed  all  the  duties  of  a  good  citizen,  until 
peacefully  gathered  to  his  fathers.  He  had,  a  few  years  since,  a  grandson.  Colonel  Clary, 
living  in  Edgefield  County,  and  other  decendants. 



out  but  a  few  years  since.  Great  credit  is  justly  due  to 
Captain  Inman  for  the  successful  manner  in  which  he 
brought  on  the  action,  and  the  aid  he  rendered  in  con- 
ducting it  to  a  triumphant  issue. 

The  yells  and  screeches 
of  the  retreating  British  and 
Tories  as  they  ran  through 
the  woods,  and  over  the  hills 
to  the  river  —  loudty  inter- 
mingled with  the  shouts  of 
their  pursuers,  together  with 
the  groans  of  the  dying  and 
wounded,  were  terrific  and 
heart-rending  in  the  ex- 
treme. The  smoke,  as  well 
as    the    din    and    confusion, 


;noree  piver 

A.    Graves.     B,  Where  Captain  Inman  wa3  ^.^gg  J^Jg]^   aboVC  the  CXCitiug 

Plat  of  Region  near  Musgrove's  Mill. 
L.    Graves.     B.   Where  Captain  Inman 
killed,  at  the  junction  of  the  old  and  new  roa 

scene.  The  Tories  ceased  to  make  any  show  of  defense 
when  half  way  from  the  breast-works  to  the  ford.  The 
retreat  then  became  a  perfect  rout ;  and  now,  with  reck- 
less speed,  they  hastened  to  the  river,  through  which  they 
rushed  with  the  wildest  fury,J:iotly  pursued  by  the  victorious 
Americans  with  sword  and  rifle,  killing,  wounding  or  cap- 
turing all  who  came  in  their  way. 

Many  of  the  British  and  Tories  were  shot  down  as  they 
were  hastening,  pell-mell,  across  the  Enoree  at  the  rocky 
ford.  After  they  were  fairly  over,  one,  not  yet  too  weary 
to  evince  his  bravado,  and  attract  attention  for  the  moment, 
turned  up  his  buttock  in  derision,  at  the  Americans  ;  when 
one  of  the  Whig  officers,  probably  Brandon  or  Steen,  said 
to  Golding  Tinsley :  *  "Can't  you  turn  that  insolent  brag- 

*  This  old  soldier,  who  did  much  good  service  in  the  up-country  of  South  Carolina 
during  the  Revolution,  was  born  in  Culpeper  County,  Virginia,  in  or  about  1756,  as  stated  in 
his  pension  papers,  and  settled  in  South  Carolina  about  T771.  He  early  served  in  the 
Rangers.  He  participated  in  the  battle  of  Stono,  the  seige  of  Savannah,  and  took  an  active 
part  in  the  actions  at  Musgrove's  Mill.  King's  Mountain,  and  Blacltstocks,  He  had  two 
brothers  killed  by  the  Tories  in  the  Fair  Forest  region  during  the  war.  He  lived  to  enjoy 
a  pension,  dying  in  Spartanburg  County,  May  nth,  1851,  aged  about  ninety-five  years. 


gart  over?"  "I  can  tr};-,"  responded  Tinsley,  who  was 
known  to  possess  a  good  rifle,  when,  suiting  the  action  to 
the  word,  he  took  prompt  aim,  and  fired — and  sure  enough, 
turned  him  over,  when  some  of  his  comrades  picked  the 
fellow  up,  and  carried  him  off".  Another  instance  of  sharp- 
shooting  is  mentioned :  One  of  the  enemy,  who  had  re- 
crossed  the  ford,  betook  himself  to  a  convenient  tree,  which, 
however,  did  not  fully  protect  his  person,  for  Thomas 
Gillespie,  one  of  the  Watauga  riflemen,  brought  his  rifle  to 
bear  on  the  Tory's  partially  exposed  body,  and  the  next 
moment  he  bit  the  dust. 

It  is  related,  that  while  the  firing  was  yet  kept  up,  on 
the  north  side  of  the  Enoree,  an  intrepid  frontierman.  Cap- 
tain Sam  Moore,  led  a  small  party  of  ten  or  twelve  men 
up  the  river,  and  crossing  the  stream  at  Head's  Ford, 
rushed  down  upon  a  portion  of  the  enemy  with  such  im- 
petuosity and  audacity  as  to  impress  them  with  the  belief 
that  they  were  but  the  vanguai'd  of  a  much  larger  force, 
when  they  incontinently  fled,  and  Moore  rejoined  his 
victorious  friends  over  the  river. 

Some  interesting  incidents  connected  with,  and  follow- 
ing the  battle,  deserve  a  place  in  this  connection.  So  many 
of  the  British  and  Tory  reserve  as  could,  mounted  to  the 
top  of  Musgrove's  house,  that  they  might  witness  the  con- 
test, not  doubting  for  a  moment  that  King  George's  men 
could  and  would  bear  down  all  before  them.  They  saw  the 
heroic  Inman  deliver  his  successive  fires  and  retreat,  fol- 
lowed closely  by  Innes'  pursuers  ;  and  supposed  this  little 
band  constituted  the  whole  of  the  Rebel  party.  To  these 
house-top  observers,  the  bold  invaders  were  beaten  back — 
routed  ;  when  they  threw  up  their  hats,  indulging  in  shouts 
that  made  the  old  hill  in  the  rear  of  Musgrove's  resound 
again,  with  echoes  and  re-echoes,  in  commemoration  of 
their  imaginary  victory.  At  length,  reaching  the  concealed 
Whigs,  a  tremendous  fire  burst  upon  their  pursuers,  which 
caused  a  deathly  paleness  on  the  countenance  of  some  fifty 


of  the  reserve  party,  who  were  it  was  said,  paroled  British 
prisoners,  doing  dutj^  contrarj^  to  the  laws  of  war — they, 
especiall}',  dreading  the  consequences  of  a  possible  capture 
at  the  hands  of  the  Americans.  Their  shoutings  ceased — 
the)-  peered  anxiouslj',  with  bated  breath,  towards  the  con- 
tending parties.  At  length  they  raised  the  cry  of  despair: 
"We  are  beaten  —  our  men  are  retreating;"  and  long 
before  the  Tories  had  re-crossed  the  river,  these  demoral- 
ized Britons  had  seized  their  knap-sacks,  and  were  scam- 
pering oft'  towards  Ninety  Six  at  their  liveliest  speed. 

The  large  patrolling  party  which  had  been  down  the 
river  near  Jones'  Ford,  heard  the  firing,  and  came  dashing 
back  at  full  speed  ;  and  while  descending  the  steep  hill, 
east  of  the  old  Musgrove  domicile,  their  bright  uniforms 
and  flashing  blades  and  scabbards  reflected  the  rays  of  the 
morning  sun  just  rising  in  its  splendor.  They  reined  up 
their  panting  steeds  before  Musgrove's,  the  commanding 
officer  eagerlj'  inquiring  what  was  the  matter.  A  hurried 
account  of  the  battle  was  given,  which  had  terminated  so 
disastrously  some  thirty  minutes  before  ;  when,  rising  in  his 
stirrups,  and  uttering  deep  and  loud  imprecations,  the  cav- 
alry commander  ordered  his  men  to  cross  the  river.  They 
dashed  at  full  speed  over  the  rocky  ford,  splashing  the 
water,  which,  with  the  resplendent  sun-rays,  produced 
miniature  rainbows  around  the  horses.  They  were  too  late, 
for  the  victorious  Americans  had  retired  with  their  prison- 
ers, leaving  the  British  troopers  the  melancholy  duty  of 
conveying  their  wounded  fellows  to  the  hospital  at  Mus- 

For  many  miles  around,  every  woman  and  child  of  the 
surrounding  country,  who  were  able  to  leave  their  homes, 
visited  the  battle-ground  —  some  for  plunder,  some  from 
curiosity,  and  others  for  a  different  purpose.  It  was  chiefly 
a  Tory  region,  the  few  Whigs  having  retired  from  motives 
of  personal  safety,  joining  Sumter  and  other  popular  lead- 
ers.    The  most  of  these  visitors  were  of  Loyalist  families ; 


and  it  was  interesting  to  witness  them,  as  well  as  the  few 
Whig  ladies  present,  turning  over  the  bodies  of  the  slain, 
earnestly  examining  their  faces,  to  see  if  they  could  recog- 
nize a  father,  husband,  son,  or  brother.  Not  a  few  went 
away  with  saddened  hearts,  and  eyes  bedewed  with  tears. 

Sixteen  Tories  were  said  to  have  been  buried  in  one 
grave,  near  the  mouth  of  Cedar  Shoal  creek — the  particular 
spot  long  since  defaced  and  forgotten.  Several  were  in- 
terred between  the  battle-ground  and  ford,  but  a  stone's 
throw  below  wh-ere  George  Gordon  resided  some  thirtj^  years 
since,  on  the  west  side  of  the  old  road  ;  while  others  were 
buried  in  the  yard  of  the  late  Captain  Philemon  Waters, 
midway  between  the  ford  and  battle-field,  opposite  the  dog- 
wood spring,  and  others  yet  were  buried  in  a  grave-yard, 
just  below  Musgrove's  house.  A  burial  spot  is  still  pointed 
out  on  the  battle-ridge,  just  east  of  the  old  road. 

It  was  a  complete  rout  on  the  part  of  the  British  and 
Tories.  They  seem  to  have  apprehended,  that  the  Whig 
forces,  in  the  flush  of  victory,  might  push  on  to  Ninety  Six, 
then  believed  to  be  in  a  weak  and  defenceless  condition. 
The  Tory  leader.  Fanning,  states,  that  after  the  battle,  the 
British  retreated  a  mile  and  a  quarter,  where  they  encamped 
for  the  i-emainder  of  the  day ;  and,  in  the  night,  marched 
oif  towards  Ninety  Six,  under  the  command  of  Captain 
De  Peyster.  This  probably  refers  to  only  a  part  of  the 
enemy  ;  for  the  larger  portion  must  have  remained,  if  for 
nothing  else,  at  least  to  take  care  of  their  wounded. 
Another  British  writer,  Mackenzie,  represents,  that  in  the 
retreat  from  the  battle-ground,  they  were  conducted  by 
Captain  Kerr  to  the  southern  bank  of  the  Enoree,  where 
they  remained  till  reinforced  by  Lieutenant-Colonel  Cruger 
from  Ninety  Six.  "  Captain  Kerr,"  says  the  Georgia  his- 
torian, McCall,  "finding  that  resistance  would  be  in  vain, 
and  without  hope  of  success,  ordered  a  retreat,  which  was 
effected  in  close  order  for  four  miles,  resorting  to  the  bayo- 
net for  defence  in  flank  and  rear.     The  pursuit  was  con- 


tinued  by  the  victors,  until  the  enemy  took  refuge  in  Mus- 
grove's  Mill,"  which  was  on  the  south  side  of  the  Enoree,  in 
the  north-east  corner  of  the  present  county  of  Laurens, 
noted  on  Mills'  Atlas  oj  South  Carolina  as  Gordon's  Mill. 

Colonel  Williams'  official  account  represents  that  the 
main  fight — the  one  at  the  breast-work — lasted  only  fifteen 
minutes,  when  the  enemy  were  obliged  to  retreat,  and  were 
pursued  two  miles  ;  and  that  Colonel  Innes  was  reported  to 
be  wounded  by  two  balls — one  in  the  neck  and  the  other 
breaking  the  thigh  —  and  that  three  Tory  Captains  were 
slain.  "  The  enemy  declared  they  suffered  exceedingly  in 
the  action  with  Colonel  Williams  ;  that  Captain  Campbell, 
an  officer  in  high  repute,  of  the  regulars,  among  others, 
was  killed,"*  and  Governor  Rutledge  confirms  the  fact  that 
"  one  British  Captain  "  was  among  the  slain. 

Shelby  states,  that  the  action  continued  an  hour  before 
the  enemy  were  repulsed  in  front  of  the  breast-work  ;  while 
McCall  asserts,  that  it  was  "but  a  few  minutes  after  the 
contest  began,  when  so  many  of  the  Provincial  officers  were 
either  killed  or  wounded,  and  "the  men  tumbled  down  in 
heaps,  without  the  power  of  resistance,''  when  the  survivors 
retreated  under  Captain  Kerr.f  Probabty  Colonel  Williams' 
recollection  of  the  length  of  the  battle  before  the  retreat, 
written  within  a  few  days  thereafter,  is  approximately  cor- 
rect ;  and  possibly  well  nigh  an  hour  may  have  been  con- 
sumed by  the  time  the  enemy  were  driven  across  the  ford,  and 
took  refuge  in  the  mill.  "This  action,"  says  Colonel  Hill's 
manuscript,  "  was  one  of  the  hardest  ever  fought  in  the 
country  with  small  arms  alone  ;  the  smoke  was  so  thick  as 

*  Statement  in  Virginia  Gazette,  September  27th,  1780,  of  William  AUraan,  of  Colonel 
Stiibblefield's  regiment  of  Virginia  militia,  who  was  captured  at  Gates'  defeat,  and  subse- 
quently escaped  from  Camden. 

t  Captain  James  Kerr  was  probably  a  resident  of  Long  Island  or  Connecticut,  from 
whose  refugees  most  of  the  Queen's  Rangers  were  raised,  in  which  corps  he  was  a  Captain. 
After  the  war,  he  retired  on  half-pay,  first  to  New  Brunswick,  and  then  to  King's  county, 
Nova  Scotia,  where  he  was  made  Colonel  of  the  militia.  He  died  at  Amherst,  in  that 
Province,  in  1830,  at  the  age  of  seventy-six,  leaving  a  widow,  who  survived  him  ten  years, 
dying  at  seventy-four.  Three  sons  and  a  daughter  preceded  him  to  the  grave,  but  twelve 
children  survived  him. 


to  hide  a  man  at  the  distance  of  twenty  rods."  Shelby 
described  this  battle  as  "the  hardest  and  best  fought  action 
he  ever  was  in  " — attributing  this  valor  and  persistency  to 
"the  great  number  of  officers  who  were  with  him  as  volun- 

It  must  be  confessed,  that  the  Provincials  and  Tories, 
before  their  final  rout,  fought  bravely.  Their  dragoons, 
but  lately  raised,  and  indifferently  disciplined,  behaved  with 
much  gallantry,  fighting  on  the  left  with  Innes.  They  all 
exhibited,  more  or  less,  the  training  they  had  received 
under  that  superior  master,  Ferguson.  The  British  loss,  in 
this  affair,  was  sixty-three  killed,  about  ninety  wounded, 
and  seventy  prisoners — a  total  of  not  far  from  two  hundred 
and  twenty-three,  out  of  four  or  five  hundred,  which  is  an 
unusually  large  proportion  for  the  number  engaged  in  the 
action.  The  American  loss  was  only  four  killed  and  eight 
or  nine  wounded.  This  disparity  in  killed  and  wounded, 
resulted  largely  from  over-shooting*  on  the  part  of  the 
enemy,  and  the  decided  advantage  which  the  trees  and 
breast- works  afforded  the  Whigs  for  their  protection.  The 
skill  of  the  frontiermen  in  the  use  of  their  rifles  was  never 
better  displayed  nor  more  effective  ;  while,  in  the  retreat, 
the  loss  fell  almost  exclusively  on  the  panic-stricken  British 
and  Tories. 

Anxious  to  improve  the  advantage  they  had  so  signally 
gained,  Shelby  and  his  heroic  compeers  at  once  resolved  to 
pursue  the  demoralized  Tories,  and  make  a  dash  for  Ninety 
Six,  which  they  learned  was  in  a  weak  condition ;    and 

*  Richard  Thompson,  of  Fair  Forest,  when  a  boy  of  some  twelve  or  fourteen  years, 
while  on  his  way  with  his  mother  to  visit  his  father,  then  imprisoned  at  Ninety  Six,  passed 
over  the  battle-ground  at  Musgrove's  a  few  days  after  its  occurrence,  and  observed  the 
bullet  marks  on  the  trees— those  of  the  British  and  Tories  generally  indicating  an  aim  above 
the  heads  of  their  antagonists,  while  those  of  the  Whigs  were  from  three  to  five  feet  above 
the  ground.  He  learned  from  his  father  and  other  prisoners  at  Ninety  Six.  that  the  fugi- 
tives reported  the  Whig  strength  in  that  action  as  five  thousand  ;  and  such  was  the  con- 
sternation of  the  garrison  of  Ninety  Six  on  receipt  of  the  news  of  the  battle,  that  had  the 
victorious  Whigs  showed  themselves  there,  it  would  have  been  difficult  for  Colonel  Cruger 
and  his  officers  to  have  prevented  o  general  stampede.— Saye's  MSS.,  and  Memoir  of 


being  only  some  twenty-five  miles  distant,  they  could  easily 
reach  there  before  night.  Returning  to  their  horses,  and 
mounting  them,  while  Shelby  was  consulting  Colonel 
Clarke,  Francis  Jones,  an  express  from  Colonel  McDowell, 
rode  up,  in  great  haste,  with  a  letter  in  his  hand  from  Gen- 
eral Caswell,  who  had,  on  the  sixteenth,  shared  in  General 
Gates'  total  defeat  near  Camden,  apprising  McDowell  of 
the  great  disaster,  and  advising  him  and  all  officers  com- 
manding detachments  to  get  out  of  the  way,  or  they  would 
be  cut  off;  McDowell  sending  word  that  he  would  at  once 
move  towards  Gilbert  Town.  General  Caswell's  hand- 
writing was  fortunately  familiar  to  Colonel  Shelby,  so  he 
knew  it  was  no  Tory  trick  attempted  to  be  played  off  upon 
them.  He  and  his  associates  instantly  saw  the  difficulty  of 
their  situation  ;  they  could  not  retire  to  McDowell's  camp, 
for  his  force  was  no  longer  there — Gates'  army  was  killed, 
captured  and  scattered — and  Sumter's,  too,  was  soon  destined 
to  meet  the  same  fate  ;  in  their  rear  was  Cruger,  with  what- 
ever of  Innes'  and  Eraser's  detachments  remained,  with 
Ferguson's  strong  force  on  their  flank.  There  was  no 
choice — further  conquests  were  out  of  the  question.  So 
Ninety  Six  was  left  unvisited  by  the  mountaineers — doubt- 
less for  them,  a  fortunate  circumstance,  as  they  were  with- 
out cannon,  and  Colonel  Cruger,  who  commanded  there, 
was  no  Patrick  Moore,  as  his  brave  defence  of  that  garri- 
son against  General  Greene  and  his  thousands,  the  following 
year,  sufficiently  attested.  It  was,  therefore,  determined  in 
a  hasty  council  on  horseback,  that  they  would  take  a  back- 
woods route,  to  avoid  and  escape  Ferguson,  and  join  Colo- 
nel McDowell  on  his  retreat  towards  Gilbert  Town. 

Hurriedly  gathering  the  prisoners  together,  and  dis- 
tributing one  to  every  three  of  the  Americans,  who  conveyed 
them  alternately  on  horseback,  requiring  each  captive  to 
carry  his  gun,  divested  of  its  flint,  the  whole  cavalcade 
were  ready  in  a  few  minutes  to  beat  a  retreat,  as  they  knew 
full  well  that  Ferguson  would  be  speedily  apprised  of  their 


success,  and  make  a  strenuous  effort,  as  he  did  at  Wofford's 
Iron  Works,  to  regain  the  prisoners.  Here  an  amusing 
incident  occurred.  Riding  along  the  ranks,  viewing  the 
prisoners.  Colonel  WilHams  recognized  among  them  an  old 
acquaintance  in  the  person  of  Saul  Hinson,  very  diminutive 
in  size,  who  had  the  previous  year  served  under  his  com- 
mand at  the  battle  of  Stono,  when  the  Colonel  pleasantl}^ 
exclaimed:  "Ah!  my  little  Sauly,  have  we  caught  you?" 
"Yes,  Colonel,"  replied  the  little  man,  "  and  no  d — d  great 
catch  either  ! "  Saul's  repartee  only  caused  a  laugh,  and 
neither  that  nor  his  false  position  subjected  him  to  any  thing 
beyond  the  common  restraint  of  a  prisoner. 

Some  of  the  few  wounded,  who  were  not  able  to  ride, 
were  necessarily  left ;  and,  it  is  pleasant  to  add,  they  were 
humanely  cared  for  by  the  British,  and  especially  by  the 
Musgrove  family.  Among  them  was  one  Miller,  shot 
through  the  body,  whose  injuries  were  believed  to  be  mortal . 
A  silk  handkerchief  was  drawn  through  the  wound  to  cleanse 
it.  His  parents,  from  the  lower  part  of  the  present  county 
of  Laurens,  obtained  the  services  of  an  old  physician.  Dr. 
Ross,  to  attend  to  their  wounded  son,  though  it  is  believed 
the  British  surgeons  were  not  wanting  in  their  professional 
attentions.     He  at  length  recovered. 

The  Whig  troopers,  encumbered  with  their  prisoners, 
now  hurried  rapidly  away  in  a  north-westerly  direction, 
instead  of  a  north-easterly  one  towards  their  old  encamp- 
ment. The}'  passed  over  a  rough,  broken  country,  crossing 
the  forks  of  Tj^ger,  leaving  Ferguson  on  the  right,  and 
heading  their  course  towards  their  own  friendly  mountains. 
As  they  expected,  they  were  rapidly  pursued  by  a  strong 
detachment  of  Ferguson's  men.*  Wearied  as  the  mountain- 
eers and  their  horses  were,  with  scarcely  any  refreshment 
for  either,  yet  Shelby's  indomitable  energy  permitted  them 

*This  detachment  could  not  have  been  led  by  Captain  De  Peyster,  as  supposed  by 
Colonel  Shelby,  for  that  officer,  as  the  Tory  annalist.  Fanning,  asserts,  accompanied  him 
from  Musgrove's  to  Ninety  Six  the  night  after  the  battle,  doubtless  to  notify  Cruger  of  the 
disaster,  and  obtain  reinforcements. 


no  rest  while  danger  lurked  in  the  way.  Once  or  twice 
only  they  tarried  a  brief  period  to  feed  their  faithful 
horses  ;  relying,  for  their  own  sustenance,  on  peaches  and 
green  corn — the  latter  pulled  from  the  stalks,  and  eaten  in 
its  raw  slate  as  they  took  their  turn  on  horse-back,  or  trotted 
on  foot  along;  the  trail,  and  which,  in  their  hungry  condi- 
tion, they  pronounced  delicious.  They  were  enabled,  now 
and  then,  to  snatch  a  refreshing  draught  from  the  rocky 
streams  which  they  forded. 

Late  in  the  evening  of  the  eighteenth,  Ferguson's  party 
reached  the  spot  where  the  Whigs  had,  less  than  thirty  min- 
utes before,  fed  their  weary  horses  ;  but  not  knowing  how 
long  they  had  been  gone,  and  their  own  detachment  being 
exhausted,  they  relinquished  further  pursuit.  Not  aware  of 
this,  the  Americans  kept  on  their  tedious  retreat  all  night, 
and  the  following  day,  passing  the  North  Tyger,  and  into 
the  confines  of  North  Carolina — sixty  miles  from  the  battle- 
field, and  one  hundred  from  Smith's  Ford,  from  which  they 
had  started,  without  making  a  stop,  save  long  enough  to 
defeat  the  enemy  at  Musgrove's.  It  was  a  remarkable 
instance  of  unflagging  endurance,  in  the  heat  of  a  south- 
ern summer,  and  encumbered,  as  they  were,  with  seventy 
prisoners.  No  wonder,  that  after  forty-eight  hoiirs  of  such 
excessive  fatigue,  nearly  all  the  officers  and  soldiers  became 
so  exhausted,  that  their  faces  and  eyes  were  swollen  and 
bloated  to  that  degree  that  they  were  scarcely  able  to  see. 

Reaching  the  mountain  region  in  safety,  they  met  Colo- 
nel McDowell's  party,  considerably  diminished  in  numbers, 
as  we  may  well  suppose.  Colonel  Shelby,  with  the  appro- 
bation of  Major  Robertson,  now  proposed  that  an  army  of 
volunteers  be  raised  on  both  sides  of  the  mountains,  in  suffi- 
cient numbers,  to  cope  with  Ferguson.  All  of  the  officers, 
and  some  of  the  privates,  were  consulted,  and  all  heartily 
united  in  the  propriety  and  feasibility  of  the  undertaking. 
It  was  agreed  that  the  Musgrove  prisoners  should  be  sent 
to  a  place  of  security ;  that  the  over-mountain  men  should 


return  home  to  recruit  and  strengthen  their  numbers ;  while 
Colonel  McDowell  should  send  an  express  to  Colonels 
Cleveland  and  Herndon,  of  Wilkes,  and  Major  Winston,  of 
Surry,  inviting  and  urging  them  to  raise  volunteers,  and 
join  in  the  enterprise  ;  and  that  Colonel  McDowell  should, 
furthermore,  devise  the  best  means  to  preserve  the  beef 
stock  of  the  Whigs  of  the  Upper  Catawba  valleys  and 
coves,  which  would  undoubtedly  be  an  early  object  of  Fer- 
guson's attention  ;  and  McDowell  was,  moreover,  to  obtain 
information  of  the  enemy's  movements,  and  keep  the  over- 
mountain  men  constantly  apprised  of  them.* 

As  the  term  of  service  of  their  men  having  expired. 
Colonel  Shelby  and  Major  Robertson,  with  their  Holston 
and  Watauga  volunteers,  parted  company  with  Colonel 
Clarke,  leaving  the  prisoners  in  his  charge,  and  took  the 
trail  which  led  to  their  homes  over  the  Alleghanies.  Colo- 
nels McDowell  and  Hampton,  with  their  Burke  and  Ruth- 
erford followers,  now  less  than  two  hundred  in  number, 
remained  in  the  Gilbert  Town  region  till  forced  back  by  the 
arrival  of  Ferguson  shortly  after.  Colonel  Clarke,  after 
continuing  some  distance  on  his  route,  concluded  to  take 
the  mountain  trails  and  return  to  Georgia,  transferring  the 
prisoners  to  Colonel  Williams,  who,  with  Captain  Ham- 
mond, conducted  them  safely  to  Hillsboro.  There,  meeting 
Governor  Rutledge,  of  South  Carolina,  who  supposing 
Williams  had  the  chief  command  of  the  expedition,  as  his 
report  was  so  worded  as  to  convey  that  idea,  conferred  on 
him  as  a  reward  for  the  gallant  achievement,  the  commis- 
sion of  a  Brigadier-General  in  the  South  Carolina  militia 
service,  and,  at  the  same  time,  promoted  Captain  Ham- 
mond to  the  rank  of  a  Major.  But  Shelby,  Clarke,  Bran- 
don, Steen,  McCall,  McDowell,  and  Mcjunkin,  who  battled 
so  manfully  at  Musgrove's,  were  kept  in  the  back-ground, 
receiving  no  merited  honors  for  their  services  and  their  suf- 

*MS.  Statements  of  Major  Joseph  McDowell,  and  Captain  David  Vance,  preserved  by 
the  late  Robert  Henry,  of  Buncombe  Co.,  N.  C,  and  both  participants  in  this  expedition. 

120  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

ferings  ;  yet  they,  nevertheless,  continued  faithfully  to  serve 
their  country  without  a  murmur. 

Lord  Cornwallis,  on  the  twenty-ninth  of  August,  wrote 
to  Sir  Henry  Clinton  :  ' '  Ferguson  is  to  move  into  Tryon 
county  with  some  militia,  whom  he  says  he  is  sure  he  can 
depend  upon  for  doing  their  duty,  and  fighting  well ;  but  I 
am  sorry  to  say,  that  h's  own  experience,  as  well  as  that  of 
every  other  officer,  is  totally  against  him."*  This  is  a  tacit 
acknowledgment,  that  Ferguson's  detachments  were  deci- 
dedly worsted  in  the  several  affairs  at  Cedar  Spring,  with 
Colonel  Jones  beyond  the  head-waters  of  Saluda,  at  Earle's 
Ford,  near  Wofford's  Iron  Works,  and  at  Musgrove's.  So 
good  a  judge  of  military  matters  as  Lord  Cornwallis  would 
not  have  made  such  a  report,  had  not  the  disastrous  results 
extorted  the  reluctant  confession. 

Some  comparison  of  the  principal  authorities  consulted, 
which  appear  more  or  less  contradictory  in  their  character, 
ma}'  not  inappropriately  be  made  in  concluding  this  chap- 
ter. Dawson,  vaguely  referring  to  the  Shelby  statements, 
says  they  "differ  so  much  from  the  contemporary  reports, 
that  I  have  not  noticed  them."  Colonel  Shelby  was  in 
every  sense  a  real  hero  in  war,  and  the  details  he  furnishes 
are  no  doubt  reliable.  But  in  after  life,  he  appears,  perhaps 
imperceptibly,  little  b}'  little,  to  have  magnified  the  num- 
bers, losses  and  prisoners  in  some  of  the  contests  in  which 
he  was  engaged — notably  so  of  the  Musgrove  affair.  The 
venerable  historian  of  Tennessee,  Dr.  J.  G.  M.  Ramsey, 
states  in  a  letter  before  the  writer,  that  he  closely  followed 
a  manuscript  narrative  of  Governor  Shelby  in  what  he 
records  of  the  battle  at  Musgrove's — the  same  that  Hay- 
wood had  used  before  him  ;  in  which  the  British  force  is 
given  as  four  or  five  hundred,  reinforced  by  six  hundred 
under  Colonel  Innes  from  Ninety  Six,  not,  however,  stating 
the  strength  of  the  Whigs  ;  that  more  than  two  hundred 
prisoners  were  taken,  with  a  loss  on  the  part  of  the  victors  of 
only  six  or  seven  killed.     In  his  statement  to  Hardin,  Colonel 

*  Correspondence  of  Cornwallis,  i,  58-59. 


Shelby  puts  both  the  British  and  American  strength  at  about 
seven  hundred — the  former  reinforced  by  six  or  seven  hun- 
dred more';  that  over  two  hundred  of  the  enemy  were  killed, 
and  two  hundred  made  prisoners,  with  a  Whig  loss  of  Cap- 
tain Inman  and  thirty  others.  Colonel  Todd,  in  his  sketch 
of  his  father-in-law.  Governor  Shelby,  gives  the  enemy's 
force  at  Musgrove's  at  five  or  six  hundred,  reinforced  hy 
six  hundred  under  Innes  ;  but  discards  Shelby's  exaggerated 
account  of  losses  and  prisoners,  adopting  McCall's  instead. 
Colonel  Williams'  report,  on  the  other  hand,  gives  the 
American  force  at  two  hundred,  and  the  British  originally 
the  same,  reinforced  by  three  hundred,  killing  sixty  of  the 
enemy,  and  taking  seventy  prisoners,  while  the  Americans 
sustained  a  loss  of  only  four  killed,  and  seven  or  eight 
wounded.  Governor  Abner  Nash,  of  North  Carolina, 
writing  September  tenth,  1780,  says:  "Colonel  Williams, 
of  South  Carolina,  two  days  after  this  (Gates')  defeat,  with 
two  hundred  men,  engaged  four  hundred  of  the  British 
cavalry,  in  a  fair  open  field  fight,  and  completely  defeated 
and  routed  them,  killing  sixty-three  on  the  spot,  and  taking 
seventy-odd  prisoners,  mostly  British."  Orondates  Davis, 
a  prominent  public  character,  writing  from  Halifax,  North 
Carolina,  September  twenty-seventh,  1780,  states:  "Colo- 
nel Williams,  of  South  Carolina,  three  [two]  days  after 
Gates'  defeat,  fell  in  with  a  party  of  the  enemy  near  Ninety 
Six,  and  gave  them  a  complete  drubbing,  killing  seventy 
on  the  spot,  and  taking  between  sixty  and  seventy  prison- 
ers, mostly  British,  with  the  loss  of  four  men  only."  These 
two  statements,  written,  doubtless,  on  Williams'  inform- 
ation, appear  in  the  North  Carolina  University  Magazine 
for  March,  1855.  .  McCall  speaks  of  the  British  force  as 
three  hundred  and  fifty,  and  the  Americans  about  equal, 
stating  the  British  loss  at  sixty-three  killed,  and  one  hun- 
dred and  sixty  wounded  and  taken,  the  Americans  losing 
only  four  killed  and  nine  wounded  ;  while  Mills,  who  does 
not  report  the  numbers  engaged,  gives  the  British  loss  at 

122  KING  '■  S  MO  UNTAIN. 

eighty-six  killed,  and  seventy-six  taken.  Major  James 
Sevier  stated  the  Whig  force  at  two  hundi-ed  and  fifty,  as 
he  learned  it  from  his  neighbors  who  participated  in  the 
action  immediately  after  their  return  home ;  and  Major 
Mcjunkin  placed  the  British  strength  at  three  hundred,  and 
the  Americans  at  half  the  number. 

Shelby's  accounts,  and  those  who  follow  them,  give  the 
date  of  the  action  as  August  nineteenth  ;  but  the  eighteenth 
has  the  weight  of  authority  to  sustain  it — Williams'  report, 
Governor  Nash's  letter,  September  tenth,  1780,  Ramsay's 
Revolution  in  South  Carolina,  1785,  Moultrie,  Gordon, 
McCall,  Mills,  Lossing,  O'Neall,  and  Dawson. 

Note — Authorities  for  the  Musgrove's  Mill  expedition :  Colonel  Williams'  report 
which  General  Gates,  September  5,  1780,  forwarded  to  the  President  of  Congress,  pub- 
lished in  Pennsylvania  Packet,  September  23,  Massachusetts  Spy,  October  12,  London 
Chronicle,  December  21,  1780,  Scots'  Magazine^  December,  1780;  Almon's  Reinevibrancer. 
xi,  87,  and  the  substance,  evidently  communicated  by  Governor  Rutledge,  in  Virginia 
Gazette,  September  13,  1780.  Ramsay's  Revolution,  ii,  137;  Moultrie's  Mevioii'S,  \\,  220; 
Mackenzie's  Strictures,  25-26;  Y^Lnmngs 'Narrative,  12-13;  Gordon's  History,  iii,  449; 
McCall's  Georgia,  ii,  315-17.  Shelby's  accounts  in  Haywood's  Tennessee,  65-67;  Ramsey's 
Tenjiessee.  217-19;  American  Whig  Review,  December,  1848;  Todd's  memoir  of  Shelby 
in  National  Portrait  Gallery,  and  in  IVesiern  Monthly  Magazine,  August  1836  ;  Breazeale's 
Li/e  as  it  is,  51-52  ;  Wheeler's  North  Carolina,  ii,  57-58,  ico;  Hunter's  Sketches  0/  Western 
North  Carolina,  337-39.  Mills'  Statistics,  255-56,  764;  O'Neall's  History  Newhe7~ry,  71,  265, 
312-13;  Lossing's  Field  Book,  ii,  444-45;  Dawson's  Battles,  i,  620-22;  Howe's  History 
Presbyterian  Church  of  South  Carolina,  526.  MS.  papers  of  Robert  Henry.  Also  Saye's 
Memoir  of  Mcjiinkin,  and  Saye  MSS  ;  MSS.  of  Dr.  John  H.  Logan,  furnishing  many 
traditions  from  the  Musgrove  family;  Colonel  William  Hill's  MS.  Narrative  of  the  Mus- 
grove  affair,  derived  from  "an  officer  of  high  standing"  who  participated  in  the  engage- 
ment— the  date  and  details  going  to  show  that  Colonel  Shelby  was  his  authority;  they 
had  met  on  the  King's  Mountain  campaign.  Pension  statement  of  Captain  Joseph 
Hughes.  MS.  notes  of  conversations  with  Major  James  Sevier,  son  of  Colonel  John  Sevier; 
also  with  Major  Thomos  H.  Shelby,  son  of  Colonel  Isaac  Shelby,  and  Colonel  George 
Wilson,  of  Tennessee. 

The  pretended  narrative  of  Colonel  Samuel  Hammond,  in  Johnson's  Traditions,  has 
not  been  relied  on.  It,  for  instance,  refers  to  the  express,  who  brought  intelligence  of 
Gates'  defeat,  also  bringing  news  of  Sumter's  disaster  at  Fishing  Creek,  when,  in  fact,  it 
did  not  occur,  until  several  hours  later  of  the  same  day,  and  in  a  distant  county.  Colonel 
Hammond,  of  course,  never  wrote  anything  of  the  kind. 



1780 — Summer  and  Autumn. 

Incidents  of  the  Up-country. — Major  Edward  Musgrove. — Paddy  Carr 
and  Beaks  Musgrove. —  The  Story  of  Mary  Musgrove. —  Samuel 
Clowneys  Adventure.  —  William  Kennedy's  Forays  Against  the 
Tories.  —  Joseph  Hughes'  Escape.  —  William  Sharp  Bagging  a 
British  and  Tory  Party. —  Tories'  Attack  on  Woods,  and  how  dearly 
he  sold  his  life. — Plundering  Sam.  Brown. 

Several  interesting  incidents  transpired  during  the  sum- 
mer and  early  autumn  of  1780,  in  the  region  of  the  present 
counties  of  Laurens,  Spartanburg,  and  Union,  while  Colo- 
nel Ferguson  yet  held  sway  in  that  quarter.  The  more 
striking  of  them  deserve  to  be  preserved  in  the  history  of 
the  times,  as  exhibiting  something  of  the  rancor  and  bitter- 
ness engendered  by  civil  warfare. 

Edward  Musgrove,  whose  name  has  been  perpetuated 
by  the  battle  just  narrated,  fought  near  his  residence,  was  a 
native  of  England,  and  one  of  the  earliest  settlers  of  the 
upper  country  of  South  Carolina.  He  had  received  a  good 
education,  and  was  bred  to  the  law.  Possessing  fine  abili- 
ties, large  hospitality  and  benevolence,  he  was  a  practical 
surveyor,  giving  legal  advice,  and  drawing  business  papers 
for  all  who  needed  them,  for  many  miles  around.  He  was 
very  popular,  and  exceedingly  useful,  in  all  the  region,  of 
which  his  noted  mill  on  the  Enoree  was  the  center. 

Major  Musgrove,  for  he  bore  that  title,  was  a  man  a 
little  above  medium  height,  of  slender  form,  prematurely 
gray,  and  possessed  much  firmness  and  decision  of  charac- 
ter. He  had  passed  the  period  of  active  life  when  the 
Revolutionary  war  commenced,  and  was  then  living  with 
his  third  wife — too  old  to  take  any  part  in  the  bloody  strife  ; 


but  with  trembling  lips,  he  plead  each  night  for  a  speedy 
return  of  peace  and  good  will  among  men.  He  lived  to 
see  his  prayers  answered,  dying  in  1792,  in  the  seventj''- 
sixth  year  of  his  age,  and  was  buried  in  the  little  grave- 
yard, just  behind  the  site  of  his  house,  near  the  old  mill. 

Beaks  Musgrove  was  a  son  of  the  Major's  by  his  first 
wife.  Partaking  of  the  spirit  of  the  times,  and  inspired  by 
such  British  leaders  as  the  Cunninghams  and  Colonel  Fer- 
guson, he  was  induced  to  join  the  King's  standard.  Pat- 
.  rick  Carr,  better  known  as  Paddy  Carr,  was  one  of  the 
fearless  Captains  who  served  under  Colonel  Clarke,  of 
Georgia.  He  had  been  an  Indian  trader  on  the  frontiers  of 
that  Province,  and  was,  on  occasion,  quite  as  reckless  and 
brutal  as  the  worst  specimens  among  the  Red  Men  of  the 
forest.  Hunting  for  Beaks  Musgrove,  he  suddenly  darted 
into  Major  Musgrove's,  at  a  moment  when  Beaks  had  come 
in  to  change  his  clothing,  and  get  some  refreshments,  and 
had  leaned  his  sword  against  the  door-post,  while  his  pretty 
sister,  Mary,  was  engaged  in  preparing  him  a  meal.  Carr 
had  dodged  in  so  quietly  and  unexpectedly,  that  Beaks  was 
taken  entirely  by  surprise,  and  without  a  moment's  notice 
to  enable  him  to  attempt  his  escape. 

"  Are  3-ou  Beaks  Musgrove?  "  inquired  Carr. 

"  I  am,  sir,"  was  the  frank  and  manly  reply. 

"You  are  the  man,  sir,  I  have  long  been  seeking,"  was 
the  stern  response  of  the  Whig  Captain.. 

Mary  Musgrove,  seeing  the  drawn  sword  of  her  brother 
in  Carr's  possession,  earnestly  inquired:  "Are  you  Paddy 
Carr?  " 

"  I  am,"  he  replied. 

"  I  am  Mary  Musgrove,  Mr.  Carr,  and  3rou  must  not 
kill  my  brother,  "  at  the  same  time  imploringly  throwing 
herself  between  them. 

Carr  was  evidently  touched  by  the  plea  of  artless  beauty, 
and  struck  with  young  Musgrove's  manliness  and  fine  sol- 
dierly appearance,  and  said :  "  Musgrove,  you  look  like  a 
man  who  would  fight." 


"Yes,"  responded  Musgrove,  "there  are  circumstances 
under  which  I  would  do  my  best." 

"  Had  I  come  upon  j^ou  alone,"  said  Carr,  "in  possess- 
ion of  your  arms,  would  you  have  fought  me? " 

'•  Yes — sword  in  hand,"  rejoined  Musgrove. 

Carr  seemed  pleased  with  his  new  acquaintance,  who 
was  now  so  completely  in  his  power,  and  boldly  proposed 
to  him  to  become  a  member  of  his  scout  at  once,  and  swear 
never  again  to  bear  arms  against  the  Americans.  By  this 
time,  Carr's  men,  who  had  been  stationed  in  the  cedar 
grove  some  distance  from  the  house,  came  up,  to  observe 
what  was  transpiring,  and,  if  need  be,  to  render  aid  to  their 

Mary  Musgrove,  seeing  her  brother  disposed  to  accede 
to  Carr's  proposition,  with  a  view,  probably,  of  saving  his 
life,  still  had  her  fears  awakened  for  his  safety,  and  boldly 
challenged  the  Captain's  motives.  "Captain  Carr,"  she 
asked,  "  I  hope  you  do  not  intend  to  persuade  my  brother 
to  leave  me,  and  then,  when  the  presence  of  his  sister  is  no 
longer  a  restraint,  butcher  him  in  cold  blood — pledge  me, 
sir,  that  such  is  not  your  purpose." 

"I'll  swear  it,"  replied  Carr,  solemnly.  Beaks  Mus- 
grove joined  his  part}?^,  but  at  heart  he  was  a  Tory  still. 
He,  however,  continued  some  time  with  Carr,  constantly 
gaining  upon  that  bold  leader's  confidence  ;  but  there  is  no 
record  or  tradition  tending  to  show  how  long  the  native 
baseness  of  his  heart  permitted  him  to  sustain  his  new  char- 
acter. There  is  no  evidence  that  he  ever  after  bore  arms 
against  his  country — perhaps  he  feared  the  terrible  retribu- 
tion Carr  would  certainly  have  visited  upon  him,  had 
he  falsified  the  solemn  oath  he  had  taken.  About  the  close 
of  the  war,  he  quit  the  country,  and  never  returned.  He 
left  a  son,  who  became  a  Baptist  preacher,  displaying,  it  is 
said,  much  of  the  eccentricity  and  acuteness  of  the  cele- 
brated Lorenzo  Dow. 

By  his  second  m.arriage,  to  a  Miss  Fancher,  Major  Mus- 


grove  had  two  daughters,  Mary  and  Susan,  aged  respect- 
ively some  twenty-five  and  twenty-three  years,  at  the  period 
of  the  war  troubles  of  1780-81  ;  and  both  were  akin  to  the 
angels  in  their  unwearied  acts  of  mercy  to  the  wounded  and 
the  suffering  in  those  trying  times.  They  were  young 
women  of  marked  attractions,  both  of  mind  and  body ; 
Mary,  especially,  was  a  young  lady  of  rare  beauty  of  per- 
son, possessing  a  bright  intellect,  and  much  energy  of  char- 
acter. She  was  the  renowned  heroine  of  Kennedy's  popu- 
lar story  of  "  Horse-Shoe  Robinson  ;  "  and,  in  all  the  up- 
countr}^  of  South  Carolina,  he  could  not  have  chosen  a  more 
beautiful  character  in  real  life  with  which  to  adorn  the 
charming  pages  of  his  historical  romance.  In  Marjr  Mus- 
grove's  case — 

"Beauty  unadorned  is  adorned  the  most." 

Both  of  these  noble  sisters  fell  earlj^  victims  to  the  con- 
sumption— Mary  dying  about  one  3'ear,  and  Susan  about 
two  years,  after  the  war — both  unmarried,  and  both  quietly 
repose  in  the  little  grave-yard  beside  their  revered  parents. 

When  Mary  Musgrove  was  about  passing  away,  she 
selected  her  sister,  and  three  other  young  ladies  of  the 
neighborhood,  to  be  her  pall-bearers.  Her  body  being  very 
light,  they  bore  it  to  its  final  resting-place  on  silk  handker- 
chiefs. Just  as  they  were  lowering  the  coffin  into  the  grave, 
a  kind-hearted  lady  present,  the  wife  of  a  noted  Tory,  came 
forward  to  render  some  little  assistance,  when  a  member  of 
the  family,  knowing  Mary's  devoted  Whig  principles, 
gentlj'  interposed  and  prevented  it.  Such  was  the  tender 
respect  shown  to  the  memory  of  the  worthy  heroine  of  the 

A  remarkable  adventure  of  Samuel  Clowney  will  next 

*  Among  Dr.  Logan's  MSS.,  Is  an  interesting  statement,  to  which  we  are  indebted  for 
these  particulars,  from  the  late  Captain  P.  M.  Waters,  son  of  Margaret  Musgrove,  the 
oldest  daughter,  by  his  last  marriage,  of  Major  Musgrove — a  girl  of  twelve  summers  at  the 
time  of  the  memorable  battle  near  her  father's,  in  1780.  She  married  Ladon  Waters,  and 
survived  till  1824;  and  by  her  retentive  memory  these  traditions,  and  several  of  those 
related  in  the  preceding  chapter,  were  preserved. 


demand  our  attention.  He  was  a  native  of  Ireland,  and 
first  settled  on  the  Catawba  river,  in  North  Carolina,  finalty 
locating  in  South  Carolina.  He  was  a  most  determined 
Whig,  and  had  joined  Colonel  Thomas  at  the  Cedar  Spring, 
early  in  July.  Obtaining  with  several  others  a  brief  leave 
of  absence,  to  visit  their  friends,  and  procure  a  change 
of  clothing,  they  set  oft'  for  the  settlement  on  the  waters 
of  Fair  Forest,  known  as  Ireland  or  the  Irish  Settle- 
ment, on  account  of  the  large  number  of  settlers  from 
the  Emerald  Isle.  On  their  route,  the  party  left,  with  a 
Mrs.  Foster,  some  garments  to  be  washed,  and  appointed  a 
particular  hour,  and  an  out-of-the-way  place,  where  they 
should  meet  her,  and  get  them,  on  their  return  to  camp. 

In  accordance  with  this  arrangement,  when  the  partj'^ 
reached  Kelso's  creek,  about  five  miles  from  Cedar  Spring, 
they  diverged  from  the  road  through  the  woods  to  the  ap- 
pointed place,  leaving  Clowney,  and  a  negro  named  Paul, 
to  take  charge  of  their  horses  until  they  should  return  with 
the  washing.  Presently  five  Tories,  making  their  way  to  a 
Loyalist  encampment  in  that  quarter,  came  to  the  creek ; 
when  Clowney,  conceiving  himself  equal  to  the  occasion, 
and  giving  the  negro  subdued  directions  of  the  part  he  was 
to  act,  yelled  out  in  a  commanding  tone:  "Cock  your 
guns,  boys,  and  fire  at  the  word  ;  "  and  then  advancing  to 
the  bank  of  the  stream,  as  the  Tories  were  passing  through 
it,  demanded  who  they  were?  Thej-  answered  :  "Friends 
to  the  King.''  To  their  utter  astonishment,  not  dreaming 
of  a  Whig  party  in  the  country,  they  were  peremptorily 
ordered  by  Clowney  to  come  upon  the  bank,  lay  down  their 
arms,  and  surrender,  or  "every  bugger  of  them  would  be 
instantly  cut  to  pieces."  Being  somewhat  slow  in  showing 
signs  of  yielding,  Clowney  sternly  repeated  his  demand, 
threatening  them,  with  his  well-poised  rifle,  of  the  fatal 
consequences  of  disobedience ;  when  the  terror-stricken 
Tories,  believing  that  a  large  force  was  upon  them,  quietly 
surrendered  without  uttering  a  word. 

128  KING '  S  MO  UN  TAIN 

Paul  took  charge  of  their  guns,  when  Clowney,  giving 
some  directions  to  his  imaginary  soldiers  to  follow  in  the 
rear,  ordered  the  prisoners  "right  about  wheel,"  when 
he  marched  them  across  the  creek,  directly  before  him, 
till  he  at  length  reached  the  rest  of  his  party  at  Mrs.  Foster's 
washing  camp.  They  were  then  conducted  to  Colonel 
Thomas'  quarters.  The  prisoners  were  not  a  little  cha- 
grined, when  they  learned  that  their  captors  consisted  of 
only  two  persons — one  of  whom  was  an  unarmed  negro. 
After  arriving  safely  at  Cedar  Spring,  his  Colonel,  when 
told  that  Clowney  and  the  negro  alone  had  captured  the 
whole  party,  seemed  at  first  a  little  incredulous  that  they 
could  accomplish  such  a  feat. 

"Why,  Padd}',"  said  the  Colonel,  "how  did  you  take 
all  these  men? " 

"May  it  plase  yer  honor,"  he  replied,  exultingly,  "by 
me  faith,  I  surj-oimded  them  !  " 

Clowney  was  a  real  hero.  This  achievement  of  his  at 
Kelso's  creek  is  well  attested  by  many  who  knew  him. 
One  of  his  acquaintances,  in  his  terse  way,  described  him 
as  "a  little  dry  Irishman  ;  "  and  though  he  belonged  to  the 
Presbyterian  Church,  like  all  of  his  Celtic  race  of  that  da}', 
without  being  intemperate,  he  could  not  refrain  from  getting 
dry  once  in  a  while,  and  dearly  loved  "a  wee  bit  of  the 
crathure"  occasionally.  He  possessed  a  remarkable  talent 
for  sarcasm  and  invective  ;  but  he  was,  nevertheless,  a  most 
kind-hearted,  benevolent  man,  greatly  beloved  by  all  who 
knew  him.  His  brogue  was  quite  rich,  and  this,  combined 
with  a  fund  of  genial  Irish  wit,  made  him  a  fascinating 
companion.  He  died  September  twenty-seventh,  1824,  in 
his  eighty-second  year.  His  son,  William  K.  Clowney, 
who  was  a  graduate  of  South  Carolina  College,  and  became 
a  prominent  lawyer,  represented  his  native  district  four 
years  in  Congress.* 

*MS.  Lojjan  papers;  MS.  notes  of  conversations  with  Dr.  Alexander  Q.  Bradley,  of 
Alabama,  and  General  James  K.  Means,  a  son-in-law  of  Clowney's,  in  1871;  Howe's  His- 
tory 0/ Preshyterian  Church  in  South  Carolina,  534-35:  Dr.  Moore's  Life  of  Lacey  32, 


Five  miles  south  of  Unionville,  in  the  preyent  county  of 
Union,  was  Fair  Forest  Shoal.  There  Colonel  Thomas 
Brandon  resided ;  but  his  military  position  required  his 
presence  elsewhere  much  of  the  time  during  the  active 
period  of  the  Revolution.  His  place,  during  his  absence, 
was  well  supplied  by  a  few  resolute  Whigs,  among  whom 
were  old  'Squire  Kennedy,  his  son  William,  Joseph  Hughes, 
William  Sharp,  Thomas  Young,  Joseph  Mcjunkin,  and 
Christopher  Brandon. 

Among  these  brave  and  active  patriots,  William  Ken- 
nedy stood  conspicuous.  He  was  of  French  Huguenot 
descent — the  race  to  which  Marion  belonged.  He  was  tall, 
handsome,  and  athletic.  His  perception  was  quick,  his 
sagacity  equal  to  any  emergency,  and  his  ability  sufficient 
for  a  great  commander.  But  he  persistently  refused  to 
accept  any  office,  choosing  rather  to  serve  as  a  common 
soldier.  He  was  regarded  as  the  best  shot  with  his  rifle  of 
any  pers9n  in  all  that  region.  Whether  on  foot  or  horse- 
back, at  half-speed  or  a  stand-still,  he  was  never  known  to 
miss  his  aim.  His  rifle  had  a  peculiar  crack  when  fired, 
which  his  acquaintances  could  recognize ;  and  when  its 
well-known  report  was  heard,  it  was  a  common  remark — 
"  the7-e  is  another  Tory  less.''' 

Although  he  held  no  commission,  yet  the  men  of  the 
neighborhood  acknowledged  him  as  their  leader  when  dan- 
ger was  nigh,  and  their  feet  were  ever  in  the  stirrup  at  his 
bidding.  His  efforts  were  often  called  into  requisition  by 
the  plundering  excursions  of  the  Tories  sent  out  under  the 
auspices  of  Ferguson,  Dunlap,  and  their  subordinate  offi 
cers.  He  and  his  comrades  often  saved  their  settlement  from 
being  over-run  by  these  scouting  parties.  The  crack' of 
Kennedy's  rifle  was  sure  to  be  heard  whenever  a  Tory  was 
found ;  and  it  was  the  well-known  signal  for  his  friends  to 
hasten  to  his  assistance.  He  seemed  almost  to  "snuff"  the 
battle  from  afar ;"  and  the  flush  of  determination  would  suf- 
fuse his  manly  countenance  whenever  he  had  reason  to 
believe  the  enemy  were  near. 

130  KING 'S  MO  UNTAIN. 

On  one  occasion,  a  British  and  Tory  scouting  party 
penetrated  the  settlement,  and  began  their  customarj'  work 
of  phindering  the  women  and  children  of  every  thing  they 
possessed,  whether  to  eat  or  to  wear.  One  of  Kennedy's 
runners  went  to  the  hiding-place  of  Christopher  Brandon 
and  two  companions — for  they  were,  in  the  language  of  the 
times,  out-lyers,  and  could  not  with  safety  stay  at  home  for 
fear  of  being  massacred  by  the  Tories — and  notified  them 
of  an  enterprise  on  foot.  They  mounted  their  horses,  and 
hastened  at  half-speed  to  the  place  of  rendezvous.  Pursu- 
ing an  unfrequented  cow-path  through  a  dense  forest,  they 
stopped  a  moment  at  a  small  branch  crossing  their  trail,  to 
permit  their  jaded  horses  to  quench  their  thirst,  and  then 
renew  their  journey.  The  crack  of  a  rifle  scattered  the 
brains  of  one  of  Brandon's  companions  on  his  clothes  and 
in  his  face,  the  same  ball  grazing  his  cheek,  the  dead  body 
of  the  victim  tumbling  into  the  brook  beneath.  The  two 
survivors  put  spurs  to  their  horses,  when  more  than  a  dozen 
rifles  were  fired  at  them  from  an  unseen  enemy  behind  the 
trees  ;  but  they  fortunately  escaped  uninjured.  The  Torjf 
party  had  heard  the  galloping  of  the  horses  of  Brandon  and 
his  friends,  and  laid  in  wait  for  them. 

Reaching  the  place  of  meeting,  some  fifteen  or  twenty 
had  assembled  under  their  bold  leader,  Kennedy,  and  were 
ready  for  a  hot  pursuit.  They  overtook  the  Tory  band  a 
few  minutes  before  sunset.  They  were  plundering  a  house 
in  a  field  a  few  rods  from  the  public  road  ;  and  the  Whig 
pursuers  had  their  attention  first  attracted  by  the  cries  of  the 
woman  and  her  children.  The  Tories  had  a  sentinel  out- 
side, who  fired  as  the  Whigs  came  near ;  and,  on  the  alarm, 
those  within  instantly  dashed  out,  mounted  their  horses,  and 
fled.  The  Whigs  divided,  each  pursuing  his  man  at  full 
speed.  Kennedy  directed  3'oung  Brandon,  who  was  inex- 
perienced, to  keep  near  him,  and  only  fire  when  told  to  do 
so.  The  leader  of  the  Tory  party,  whose  name  was  Neal, 
was  the  one  singled  out  and  pursued  by  Kennedy.    He  fled 


through  an  open  field,  towards  the  woods,  at  some  distance 
away  ;  but  Kennedy  kept  the  road,  running  nearly  parallel 
with  the  fugitive,  till  he  reached  an  open  space  in  the  hedge- 
row of  bushes  that  had  partially  obstructed  the  view^,  when 
he  suddenlj'  called  out  whoa!  to  his  horse,  who  had  been 
trained  instantlj-  to  obey  ;  and,  as  quick  as  thought,  the 
crack  of  Kennedy's  rifle  brought  Neal  tumbling  to  the 
ground.  He  was  stone-dead  when  Kennedy  and  Brandon 
came  up,  having  been  shot  through  the  body  in  a  vital  part. 
The  distance  of  Kennedy's  fire  was  one  hundred  and  forty 
yards.  More  than  half  of  the  Tory  party  was  killed. 
"Not  one  was  taken  prisoner,"  as  Brandon  related  the 
adventure  in  his  old  age,  "  for  it  occurred  but  seldom — our 
rifles  usually  saved  us  that  trouble."  Re-taking  the  Tory- 
booty,  it  was  all  faithfully  restored  to  the  distressed  woman 
and  children.* 

On  the  heights  at  Fair  Forest  Shoal  was  an  old  stockade 
fort  or  block-house.  Many  tragic  incidents  occurred  there, 
and  in  its  neighborhood.  A  Tory,  whose  name  has  been 
forgotten,  had,  with  his  band,  done  much  mischief  in  that 
region  ;  and,  among  other  unpardonable  sins,  had  killed 
one  of  William  Kennedy's  dearest  friends.  The  latter 
learned  that  the  culprit  was  within  striking  distance,  and 
called  his  friends  together,  who  went  in  search  of  him. 
The  two  parties  met  some  two  or  three  miles  from  the 
block-house,  when  a  severe  contest  ensued.  The  Tories 
were  routed  ;  and  the  leader,  who  was  the  prize  Kennedy 
sought,  fled.  Kennedy,  Hughes,  Sharp,  Mcjunkin  and 
others  pursued.  The  chase  was  one  of  life  or  death.  The 
Tory  approached  the  bank  of  Fair  Forest  at  a  point,  on  a 
high  bluff,  where  the  stream  at  low  water  was  perhaps 
twenty  or  thirty  yards  over,  and  quite  deep.     The  fleeing 

*MS.  notos  of  Hon.  Daniel  Wallace,  communicated  to  William  Gilmore  Simms,  the 
distinguished  novelist  and  historian  of  South  Carolina,  and  kindly  furnished  the  writer  by 
Mr.  Simms'  daughter,  Mrs.  Edward  Roach,  of  Charleston.  Mr.  Wallace  was  a  native  of 
the  up-country  of  South  Carolina,  and  represented  his  district  in  Congress  from  1847  to 
1853.     He  died  a  few  years  since. 


Loyalist,  hemmed  around  by  his  pm'suers  on  the  bluff,  just 
where  they  aimed  to  drive  him,  hesitated  not  a  moment, 
but  spurred  his  horse,  and  plunged  over  the  bank,  and  into 
the  stream  below — a  fearful  leap.  His  pursuers  followed, 
and  at  the  opposite  bank  they  made  him  their  prisoner. 

Their  powder  being  wet  by  its  contact  with  the  water, 
they  resolved  to  take  their  captive  below  to  the  block-house 
and  hang  him.  When  they  arrived  there,  the  officer  in 
command  would  not  permit  him  to  be  disposed  of  in  that 
summary  manner,  but  ordered  him  to  be  taken  to  Colonel 
Brandon's  camp,  a  considerable  distance  away,  to  be  tried 
by  a  court  martial.  Kennedy  was  placed  at  the  head  of  the 
guard,  but  the  Tory  begged  that  Kennedy  might  not  be 
permitted  to  go,  as  he  apprehended  he  would  take  occasion 
to  kill  him  on  the  way.  Evidently  intending  to  make  an 
effort  to  escape,  he  did  not  wish  the  presence  of  so  skillful 
a  shot  as  Kennedy.  His  request,  however,  was  not  heeded. 
He  took  an  early  occasion  to  dash  off  at  full  speed ;  but 
Kennedy's  unerring  rifle  soon  stopped  his  flight,  and  his 
remains  were  brought  back  to  the  foot  of  the  hill,  near  the 
block-house,  and  there  buried.  The  Tory's  grave  was 
still  pointed  out  within  a  few  years  past.* 

The  name  of  Joseph  Hughes  has  been  mentioned  as  one 
of  the  faithful  followers  of  William  Kennedy.  Both  were 
proverbially  brave — Hughes  was  probably  the  more  reckless 
of  the  two — possessed  more  of  a  dare-devil  character. 
Early  one  morning,  he  left  his  hiding-place,  as  one  of  the 
honored  band  of  out-l3'ers,  who  preferred  freedom  at  any 
sacrifice  rather  than  tamely  yield  to  the  oppression  around 
them,  and  visited  his  humble  domicile,  to  see  his  little  family, 
residing  on  the  west  side  of  Broad  river,  near  the  locality 
of  the  present  village  of  Pinckneyville.  He  approached  his 
house  cautiously  on  horse-back,  and  when  within  a  rod, 
three  Tories  suddenly  sprang  out  of  the  door,  and  present- 
ing their  guns,  said  exultingly  : — 

*  Wallace  Manuscript. 


"  You  d — d  Rebel,  you  are  our  prisoner !  " 

"  You  are  d — d  liars  !  "  defiantly  yelled  Hughes,  as  he 
instantly  spurred  his  horse  to  his  full  speed.  As  he  cleared 
the  gate  at  a  single  leap,  all  three  fired,  but  missed  their 
mark,  and  he  escaped  without  a  scratch.  These  Tories  had 
watched  for  him  all  night,  and  had  just  entered  the  house  to 
get  their  breakfast  as  he  rode  up.  They  were  naturally 
quite  chop-fallen,  when,  having  taken  so  much  pains  to 
secure  so  plucky  an  enemy  of  the  King,  they  found  them- 
selves, in  the  end,  so  completely  foiled  in  their  purpose.* 

On  another  occasion,  when  a  scouting  party  of  British 
and  Tories  was  passing  through  what  is  now  Union  County, 
committing  robberies,  as  was  their  wont,  when  they  little 
suspected  it,  their  footsteps  were  dogged  by  William  Sharp, 
one  of  Kennedy's  fearless  heroes,  with  two  associates.  At 
Grindal  Shoals,  a  notable  ford  of  Pacolet,  they  came  upon 
-the  enemy.  It  was  in  the  night,  and  very  dark,  which  con- 
cealed their  numbers,  and  favored  their  daring  enterprise. 
The  first  intimation  the  British  and  Tories  had  of  danger, 
was  a  bold  demand  on  the  part  of  Sharp  and  his  associates 
for  them  to  surrender  instantly,  or  they  would  be  blown  into 
a  region  reputed  pretty  hot.  In  the  surprise  of  the  moment, 
they  begged  for  quarter,  and  laid  down  their  arms,  to  the 
number  of  twenty.  The  victors  threw  their  guns  into  the 
river,  before  their  prisoners  discovered  their  mistake,  and 
drove  the  captives  to  the  nearest  Whig  encampment  in  that 
region,  f 

In  a  quiet  nook  in  Spartanburg  lived  a  man  named 
Woods — on  one  of  the  Forks  of  Tyger,  we  believe.  He 
was  not  known  as  particularly  demonstrative  or  combative 
among  his  neighbors,  but  was  a  true  patriot,  and  unflinch- 
ing in  times  of  danger.  One  day,  when  at  home  with  his 
wife,  he  found  his  house  surrounded  by  a  party  of  deter- 
mined Tories.     Seeing  so  overwhelming  a  superiority  of 

*  Wallace  Manuscript. 
+  Wallace  Manuscript. 

134  KING 'S  MO  UN  TAIN 

numbers  against  him,  Woods,  who  had  closed  his  house 
against  them,  proposed  if  they  would,  in  good  faith,  agree 
to  spare  his  own  and  wife's  lives,  they  might  come  in  un- 
opposed, and  take  whatever  they  wanted,  otherwise,  as  he 
had  two  guns,  he  would  sell  his  life  as  dearly  as  possible. 
They  would  make  no  promises,  but  demanded  an  uncon- 
ditional surrender.  Woods  commenced  the  unequal  battle, 
availing  himself  of  a  crack  between  his  house-logs,  which 
served  him  as  a  port-hole,  and  kept  up  a  brisk  firing,  his 
heroic  wife  loading  his  guns  for  him  as  fast  as  either  was 
empty,  till  he  had  killed  three  of  his  assailants.  They  now 
became  more  desperate  than  ever,  and,  through  the  same 
crack,  managed  to  send  a  ball  which  broke  Mrs.  Woods' 
arm.  Tn  the  confusion  of  the  moment,  while  Woods  was 
assisting  his  wife,  the  Tories  seeing  his  fire  had  slackened, 
rushed  up  to  the  door  which  they  battered  down,  and  cap- 
tured the  intrepid  defender.  They  took  him  a  few  rods 
away,  into  a  copse  of  wood,  where  they  soon  beat  him  to 
death  with  clubs.  Mrs.  Woods  was  spared,  and  recovered.* 
In  what  was  originally  a  part  of  Tryon,  now  Lincoln 
County,  North  Carolina,  were  manj^  Loyalists.  Among 
them  was  Samuel  Brown,  who  had  been  reared  there,  and 
proved  himself  not  only  an  inveterate  Tory,  but  a  bold  and 
unscrupulous  plunderer.  He  had  a  sister,  Charity  Brown, 
who  must  have  been  a  rough,  reckless,  bad  woman.  For 
quite  a  period,  the  two  carried  on  very  successful  plunder- 
ing operations — including  horses,  bed-clothes,  weai'ing  ap- 
parel, pewter-ware,  money,  and  other  valuable  articles. 
Sometimes  they  had  confederates,  but  oftener  they  went 
forth  alone  on  their  pillaging  forays.  About  fifteen  miles 
west  of  Statesville,  North  Carolina,  three  miles  above  the 
Island  Ford,  there  is  a  high  blufT  on  the  western  side  of  the 
Catawba  river,  rising  three  hundred  feet  high,  at  a  place 
known  as  the  Look-Out  Shoals.     About  sixty  feet  from  the 

*MS.  notes  of  conversations,  in  1871,  with  Major  A.  J.  Wells,  of  Montevallo,  Alabama, 
a  native  of  Spartanburg  County,  South  Carolina. 


base  of  this  bluff,  under  an  over-hanging  cliff,  was  a  cave 
of  considerable  dimensions,  sufficient  to  accommodate  sev- 
eral persons,  but  the  opening  to  which  is  now  partially 
closed  by  a  mass  of  rock  sliding  down  from  above.  This 
cave  was  the  depository  for  the  plunder  taken  by  stealth  or 
violence  from  the  poverty-stricken  people  in  the  country  for 
m.any  miles  around  ;  for  their  depredations  extended  from 
the  Shallow  Ford  of  Yadkin  to  the  region  embracing  the 
several  counties  of  the  north-western  portion  of  South  Caro- 

Sam  Brown  was  once  married  to  the  daughter  of  a  man 
residing  near  the  Island  Ford,  but  his  wife,  disliking  the  man, 
or  his  treatment  of  her,  left  him  and  returned  to  her  father ; 
and  in  revenge  for  harboring  and  protecting  her.  Brown 
went  one  night  and  killed  all  his  father-in-law's  stock.  A 
poor  old  blind  man,  named  David  Beard,  living  on  Fourth 
creek,  near  what  is  now  called  Beard's  bridge,  about  seven 
miles  east  of  Statesville,  had  a  few  dollars  in  silver  laid  up, 
which  Brown  unfeelingly  filched  from  him.  Beard  re- 
proached him  for  his  wrongs  and  cruelties,  and  reminded 
him  that  he  would  have  a  hard  account  to  render  at  the  day 
of  judgment  for  robbing  a  person  in  his  poor  and  helpless 

"It's  a  long  trust,"  retorted  Brown;  "but  sure  pay," 
promptly  rejoined  Beard. 

So  notorious  had  become  the  robber's  achievements, 
that  he  was  known  in  all  that  region  as  Plundering  Sam 
Brown.  Among  the  Tories,  he  was  designated  as  Captain 
Sam  Brown.  As  early  as  the  Spring  of  1778,  he  was 
associated  with  the  Tory  leader,  David  Fanning  ;  and  they 
were  hiding  in  the  woods  together  on  Reaburn's  creek,  in 
now  Laurens  County,  South  Carohna,  for  the  space  of  six 
weeks,  living  entirely  upon  what  they  killed  in  the  wilder- 
ness, without  bread  or  salt.  There  were  too  many  watchful 
Whigs  in  this  region  to  suit  Brown's  notions,  so  he  wended 
his  way  to  Green  river,  in  what  is  now  Polk  County,  in  the 
south-western  part  of  North  Carolina. 


The  advent  of  Colonel  Ferguson  to  the  up-country  of 
South  Carolina  proved  a  perfect  God-send  to  such  hardened 
wretches  as  Brown.  They  could  now  dignify  their  plunder- 
ing with  the  sanction  of  his  Majesty's  faithful  servants, 
Colonel  Ferguson,  Colonel  Innes,  and  Major  Dunlap.  To 
such  an  extent  had  the  people  of  the  Spartanburg  region 
been  raided  and  over-run,  during  the  summer  of  1780,  by 
these  persistent  pillagers,  that  the  men  had  been  compelled 
to  fly  to  the  distant  bodies  of  Whigs  under  McDowell  or 
Sumter,  or  become  out-lyers  in  the  wilderness.  This  left 
a  comparatively  open  field  for  the  marauders,  and  they 
were  not  slow  to  avail  themselves  of  it.  Captain  Brown 
and  his  followers  made  frequent  incursions  in  that  quarter. 
He  ventured,  on  one  occasion,  to  the  house  of  Josiah  Cul- 
bertson,  on  Fair  Forest,  accompanied  by  a  single  associate 
named  Butler,  and  inquired  of  Mrs.  Culbertson  for  her  hus- 
band. But  this  young  woman,  the  daughter  of  the  heroic 
Mrs.  Colonel  Thomas,  gave  him  some  pretty  curt  and  un- 
satisfactory answers.  Brown  became  very  much  provoked 
by  this  spirited  woman,  and  retorted  in  much  abusive  and 
indecent  language ;  assuring  her,  furthermore,  that  he 
would,  in  a  few  da3's,  return  with  his  company,  lay  her 
house  in  ashes,  kill  her  husband,  and  plunder  and  murder 
the  principal  Whigs  of  the  neighborhood.  After  a  good 
deal  of  tongue  lashings  and  bravado  of  this  character. 
Brown  and  Butler  rode  off,  leaving  Mrs.  Culbertson  to 
brood  over  her  painful  apprehensions. 

Brown's  cup  of  iniquity  was  running  over,  and  the  day 
of  retribution  was  at  hand.  Fortunately,  Culbertson  re- 
turned home  that  night,  accompanied  by  a  friend,  Charles 
HoUoway,  who  was  as  brave  and  fearless  as  himself.  The 
story  of  Brown's  visit,  his  threats  and  insolence,  very 
naturally  roused  Culbertson's  feelings — indignation  and  re- 
sentment pervaded  his  whole  nature.  Beside  this  disgrace- 
ful treatment  of  his  wife.  Brown  had  apprehended  the  elder 
Colonel  Thomas,  the  father  of  Mrs.  Culbertson,  soon  after 


the  fall  of  Charleston,  and  earned  him,  two  of  his  sons, 
and  his  negroes  and  horses,  to  the  British,  at  Ninety  Six. 
Culbertson  determined  to  capture  the  redoubtable  plun- 
derer, or  rid  the  countr}^  of  so  great  a  scourge.  Hollo  way 
was  equally  ready  for  the  enterprise. 

Early  the  next  morning,  reinforced  by  William  Neel, 
William  Mcllhaney,  and  one  Steedman,*  they  followed  the 
tracks  of  the  two  marauders  some  ten  or  twelve  miles,  when 
they  discovered  Brown's  and  Butler's  horses  in  a  stable  on 
the  road-side,  belonging  to  Dr.  Andrew  Thompson,  in  the 
region  of  Tyger  river,  where  they  had  stopped  for  rest  and 
refreshment.  Culbertson's  party  now  retraced  their  steps 
some  distance,  hitched  their  horses  out  of  sight,  and  crept 
up  within  shot  of  Thompson's,  posting  themselves  behind 
the  stable,  and  eagerly  watched  the  appearance  of  the  Tory 
free-booters.  At  length  Brown  stepped  out  of  the  house 
into  the  yard,  followed  by  Butler ;  and  as  the  Tory  Captain 
was  enjoying  lazily  a  rustic  yawn,  with  his  hands  locked 
over  his  head,  he  received  a  shot  from  Culbertson's  deadly 
rifle,  at  a  distance  of  about  two  hundred  yards.  The  ball 
passed  directly  through  his  bod}^  just  below  his  shoulders, 
and  making  a  desperate  bound,  he  fell  dead  against  the  door- 
yard  fence.  Holloway's  fire  missed  Butler,  the  ball  lodging 
in  the  door-jamb,  just  behind  him  ;  but  without  waiting  to 
learn  the  fate  of  his  leader,  or  to  secure  his  horse,  he  fled 
to  the  woods  and  escaped.  Brown  was  an  active,  shrewd, 
heartless  man — the  terror  of  women  and  children  wherever 
his  name  was  known.  Butler,  it  is  believed,  took  the  hint, 
and  never  re-appeared  in  Spartanburg. 

One  tradition  has  it,  that  Brown's  life  of  robbery  and 
out-lawry  commenced  even  before  the  Revolution,  which 
may  very  well  have  been  so.  The  amount  of  money  cou- 
sin a  MS.  letter  of  Colonel  Elijah  Clarke  to  General  Sumter,  October  29th,  17S0,  occurs 
this  statement:  "'  I  am  to  inform  you,  that  the  Tories  killed  Captains  Hampton  and  Stid- 
man,  at  or  near  Fair  Forest"— the  latter,  perhaps,  the  associate  of  Culbertson,  in  his  suc- 
cessful foray  against  Brown,  and  for  that  very  reason  he  probably  lost  his  life,  in  retaliation, 
on  the  part  of  Brown's  friends. 


cealed  b}^  him  was  supposed  to  be  large — the  fruits  of  his 
predatory-  life  ;  and  frequent  searches  have  been  made  to 
find  the  hidden  treasure.  In  his  secluded  cave,  he  kept  a 
mistress,  but  she  professed  ignorance  of  his  localities  of  de- 
posit. A  small  sum  only  has  been  discovered  by  accident. 
The  probabilities  are,  he  never  accumulated  much  mone}', 
as  the  frontier  people  whom  he  plundered  were  poor,  and 
but  little  specie  was  in  circulation  beyond  the  immediate 
neighborhood  of  the  British  troops. 

After  the  death  of  her  despicable  brother,  poor  Charity 
Brown  fled  westward  to  the  mountain  region  of  what  is  now 
Buncombe  and  Haywood,  and  before  her  death,  it  is  related, 
she  made  some  revelations  where  to  find  valuables  buried  in 
the  vicinity  of  the  cave  at  the  Look-Out  Shoals  ;  and  among 
articles  subsequently  discovered,  were  twelve  sets  of  pewter- 
ware,  which  had  been  concealed  in  a  large  hollow  tree. 
This,  in  the  course  of  time,  had  been  blown  down  by  the 
wind,  and  thus  revealed  this  long  hidden  booty  of  the  rob- 
bers of  the  Catawba.  It  is  currently  stated  by  the  super- 
stitious of  that  region,  that  when  one  comes  near  the  cave, 
and  tries  to  bring  his  batteau  to  land  at  the  base  of  the  cliff, 
he  hears  a  fearful  noise — not  proceeding  from  the  cave,  so 
far  above  the  water,  but  from  the  rock  at  the  bottom. 

However  this  may  be,  Culbertson  and  Holloway,  after 
their  successful  work  at  Thompson's,  deliberately  wiped 
their  guns,  reloaded  them,  and  were  again  prepared  for  any 
perilous  adventure.  Not  verj^  long  after  Brown's  death, 
which  was  a  source  of  rejoicing  among  the  Whigs  in  all 
that  region,  Culbertson  received  word,  that  a  noted  Tory, 
whom  he  knew,  then  in  North  Carolina,  threatened  to  kill 
him,  in  retaliation  for  Brown's  death.  They  met  one  day 
unexpectedly,  and  instantly  recognized  each  other,  when 
both  fired  their  rifles  almost  simultaneously ;  Culbertson's 
cracked  a  moment  first — the  Tory  fell  dead,  while  the  Whig 
rifleman  escaped  unhurt. 

Such  sanguinary  relations  of  civil  warfare  make  one's 


blood  almost  curdle  in  the  veins.  The  unmerciful  conduct 
of  Tarleton  at  Buford's  defeat,  had  engendered  a  feeling  of 
savage  fury  on  the  part  of  the  Whigs,  and  as  bitterly  recipro- 
cated on  the  part  of  the  Tories,  which,  in  time,  amounted 
to  the  almost  utter  refusal  of  all  quarter.  So  that  in  the 
Carolinas  and  Georgia,  the  contest  became,  to  a  fearful 
extent,  a  war  of  ruthless  bloodshed  and  extermination.* 
General  Greene,  a  few  months  later,  wrote  thus  freely  of 
these  hand-to-hand  strifes:  "The  animosity,"  he  said, 
"  between  the  Whigs  and  Tories,  rendered  their  situation 
truly  deplorable.  There  is  not  a  day  passes  but  there  are 
more  or  less  who  fall  a  sacrifice  to  this  savage  disposition. 
The  Whigs  seem  determined  to  extirpate  the  Tories,  and 
the  Tories  the  Whigs.  Some  thousands  have  fallen  in  this 
way  in  this  quarter,  and  the  evil  rages  with  more  violence 
than  ever.  If  a  stop  can  not  be  put  to  these  massacres,  the 
country  will  be  depopulated  in  a  few  months  more,  as 
neither  Whig  nor  Tory  can  live."f 

*The  authorities  for  the  story  of  Plundering  Sam  Brown  are  :  Fanning's  Narrative  ; 
obituary  notice  of  Josiah  Culbertson,  in  the  Washington,  Indiana,  Weekly  Register,  Octo- 
ber 17th,  1839,  with  comments  thereon,  by  Major  Mcjunkin,  preserved  among  the  Saye 
MSS.;  Ex-Governor  B.  F.  Perry's  sketch  of  Culbertson.  in  the  Orion  Magazine,  June, 
1844;  Johnson's  Traditions,  423;  and  sketch  of  Sam  Brown,  by  Rev.  E.  R.  Rockwell,  of 
North  Carolina,  in  the  Historical  Magazine,  October,  1873. 

t  Greene's  Li/e  0/  Greene^  iii,  227, 



August,  1780— March,  1781. 

CornwalHs'  Hanging  Propensities. — Sumter  a  thorn  in  his  Lordship's 
side. — Dispersion  of  Whig  Bands. — Ferguson' s  Success  in  Training 
the  Loyal  Militia. — Action  of  the  Alarmed  Tory  Leaders. — Ferguson 
Moves  into  Try  on  County. —  Colonel  Graham  Repels  a  Party  of  Plun- 
derers.— Ruse  for  Saving  Whig  Stock. — Mrs.  Lytle  and  her  Beaver 
Hat. — Engagement  on  Caite  Creek,  and  Major  Dunlap  -djounded. — 
Apprehension  of  Jonathati  Hampton. — Dunlap' s  Insolence. — Sketch 
of  Dunlap' s  Career  and  Death. 

Lord  CoiTiwallis'  success  at  Camden  had,  like  the 
mastiff  fed  on  meat  and  blood,  made  him  all  the  more 
fierce  for  further  strife  and  carnage.  Two  days  after 
Gates'  defeat,  his  Lordship  wrote  to  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Cruger,  at  Ninety  Six :  "I  have  given  orders  that  all  the 
inhabitants  of  this  Province,  who  had  submitted,  and  who 
have  taken  part  in  this  revolt,  should  be  punished  with  the 
greatest  rigor ;  that  they  should  be  imprisoned,  and  their 
whole  property  taken  from  them  or  destroyed  ;  I  have  like- 
wise directed  that  compensation  should  be  made  out  of 
their  effects  to  the  persons  who  have  been  plundered  and 
oppressed  by  them.  I  have  ordered,  in  the  most  positive 
manner,  that  every  militia  man  who  had  borne  arms  with 
us,  and  had  afterwards  joined  the  enemy,  should  be  imme- 
diately hanged.  I  have  now,  sir,  only  to  desire  that  you 
will  take  the  most  vigorous  measures  to  extinguish  the 
rebellion,  in  the  district  in  which  you  command,  and  that 
j'ou  will  obey,  in  the  strictest  manner,  the  directions  I  have 
given  in  this  letter,  relative  to  the  treatment  of  the  countr3\"* 

*This  is  the  language  of  his  Lordship's  letter  to  Lieutenant-Colonel  Cruger,  as  given  in 
the  Cornwallis'  Correspondence.,  i,  56-57.    His  Lordship  seeius  to  have  equivocated  about 


These  sanguinary  orders  were,  in  manj^  cases,  most  faith- 
fully obeyed — Tarleton,  Rawdon,  Balfour  and  Browne,  par- 
ticularly demonstrating  their  fitness  for  carrying  into  effect 
these  tyrannical  measures. 

Sumter,  by  his  plucky  and  frequent  attacks  on  several 
British  detachments,  had  proved  himself  a  thorn  in  his 
Lordship's  side.  He  had  made  a  bold  push  against  Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Turnbull  at  Rocky  Mount ;  then  practically 
defeated  Major  Garden  and  the  Tory  Colonel  Bryan,  at 
Hanging  Rock  ;  and  finally  captured  Fort  Carey,  and  a 
large  convoy,  below  Camden.  These  were  audacious 
things  to  do,  evincing  great  contempt  of  his  Majesty's 
Government,  and  of  his  Lordship's  power  and  consideration 
in  the  Province.  Turnbull,  after  Sumter's  attack,  had  re- 
tired to  Ferguson's  quarters,  on  Little  river  ;  and  Ferguson 
meanwhile,  had  pushed  further  north  to  the  Fair  Forest 
region.  On  his  great  victory  over  Gates,  Cornwallis  direc- 
ted Turnbull  and  Ferguson  to  immediately  put  their  corps 
in  motion,  and  push  on,  if  possible,  to  intercept  Sumter's 
retreat  towards  North  Carolina  with  his  prisoners  and  spoils 
of  victory.  Tarleton  was  also  sent  in  his  pursuit,  overtak- 
ing and  surprising  him  at  the  mouth  of  Fishing  creek,  only 
two  days  after  Gates'  melancholy  disaster  near  Camden. 

As  we  hear  nothing  more  of  Turnbull  in  the  Ninety  Six 
region,  it  is  to  be  presumed  that  he  was,  not  long  after, 
recalled  to  the  eastern  part  of  South  Carolina.  The  orders 
of  Lord  Cornwallis,  which  must  have  reached  Colonel  Fer- 
guson shortly  after  the  affair  at  Musgrove's  Mill,  seem  to 
have  set  that  officer's  forces  in  motion>  After  driving 
Clarke,  Shelby,  and  Williams  out  of  the  Province,  it  only 
remained  to  pay  his  attention  to  McDowell's  party,  at 
Smith's  Ford,  on  Broad  river.  On  receipt  of  General  Cas- 
well's letter,  announcing  the  disaster  of  Gates,  and  advising 

the  subject-matter  of  this  letter;  but  he  wrote  a  similar  one,  the  same  month,  fully  as 
blood-thirsty  in  its  tone,  to  Lieutenant-Colonel  Balfour,  which  is  given  in  Sparks'  Wash- 
zftg-ion,  vii,  555-6. 

142  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

the  independent  detachments  to  retire  bej^ond  the  reach  of 
the  victorious  British,  McDowell's  force  mostly  disbanded 
and  scattered — some  of  them,  perhaps,  like  Shelby's  men, 
because  their  term  of  service  had  expired  ;  while  others,  it 
may  be,  like  Clarke's  Georgians,  because  thej^  were  volun- 
teers at  pleasure.  What  was  left  of  McDowell's  command 
— less  than  two  hundred,  apparently — retired  to  their  own 
mountain  region  of  North  Carolina,  in  the  counties  of 
Rutherford  and  Burke. 

That  Ferguson,  during  the  period  he  held  command  in 
the  up-country,  had  been  both  untiring  and  successful,  is 
well  attested  by  a  report  of  Lord  Cornwallis  to  the  Home 
Government,  August  twentieth,  1780:  "In  the  district  of 
Ninety  Six,"  says  his  Lordship,  "by  far  the  most  populous 
and  powerful  of  the  Province,  Lieutenant-Colonel  Balfour, 
by  his  great  attention  and  diligence,  and  by  the  active 
assistance  of  Major  Ferguson,  who  was  appointed  Inspector- 
General  of  the  militia  of  this  Province  by  Sir  Henry  Clin- 
ton, had  formed  seven  battalions  of  militia,  consisting  of 
above  four  thousand  men,  and  entirely  composed  of  persons 
well-affected  to  the  British  Government,  which  were  so 
regulated,  that  they  could,  with  ease,  furnish  fifteen  hundred 
men,  at  a  short  notice,  for  the  defense  of  the  frontier,  or 
any  other  home  service.  But  I  must  take  this  opportunity 
of  observing,  that  this  militia  can  be  of  little  use  for  distant 
military  operations,  as  they  will  not  stir  without  a  horse  ;  and, 
on  that  account,  your  Lordship  will  see  the  impossibility  of 
keeping  a  number  of  them  together  without  destroying  the 
country."  Turning  their  horses  into  fields  of  grain,  and  eat- 
ing out  one  settlement,  they  would  soon  necessarily  have 
to  remove  to  another. 

Only  five  days  before  the  action  at  Musgrove's,  while 
Ferguson  and  his  troops  were  encamped  at  Fair  Forest 
Shoal,  in  Brandon's  Settlement,  an  important  meeting 
was  held  there  by  the  Loyalist  officers  and  their  men. 
The  North  Carolina  battalion  under  Colonel  Ambrose  Mills, 


and  the  six  South  Carohna  battahons — Cunningham's, Kirk- 
land's,  Clary's,  King's,  Gibbs'  and  Plummer's  were  there  in 
camp,  while  Lieutenant-Colonel  John  Philips, battalion,  and 
another,  were  stationed  at  Edward  Mobley's  settlement,  in 
the  adjoining  county  of  Fairfield,  some  twenty-five  miles 
distant.  All  the  Colonels  seem  to  have  been  absent — Clary 
at  Musgi-ove's  ;  but  all  the  battalions  were  represented  at 
the  meeting.  Lieutenant-Colonel  Philips,  Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel W.  T.  Turner,  Majors  Daniel  Plummer,  Zachariah 
Gibbs,  and  John  Hamilton,  and  Adjutant  Thomas  D.  Hill, 
Jr.,  being  present. 

These  Loyalist  chiefs,  who  had  flattered  themselves  that 
the  Rebellion  was,  to  all  intents  and  purposes,  quelled,  and 
that  they  would  soon  be  made  lords  and  masters  over  the  con- 
quered communities,  now  began  to  realize  that  the  Whigs  of 
the  country  would  not  "  down"  at  their  bidding — that  Sum- 
ter, Marion,  McDowell,  Williams,  Shelby,  Clarke,  Thomas, 
Brandon,  Mcjunkin,  and  other  leaders,  were  in  arms,  boldly 
attacking  Tory  parties  whenever  they  could  meet  them  on 
anything  like  an  equal  footing.  The  Loyal  militia,  when 
danger  began  to  stare  them  in  the  face,  showed  signs  of 
weakening  and  lagging.  It  was,  therefore,  important,  as 
"the  Rebels  were  again  in  the  field,"  as  they  expressed  it, 
that  they  should  provide  severe  punishments  for  all  of  their 
Loyalist  delinquents  ;  that  their  horses,  cattle,  grain,  and 
arms  should  be  forfeited,  and  they  should  be  brought  to 
trial,  and  punished  in  person  as  they  deserved.  They 
furthermore  gave  it  as  their  unanimous  expression,  that 
whoever  should  act  a  treacherous  part  bj^  abandoning  the 
Royal  cause,  deserting  his  battalion,  or  disobeying  the 
orders  of  his  commanding  officers,  is  a  worse  enemy  to  the 
King  and  country  than  even  the  Rebels  themselves,  and 
that  all  good  Loyalists  should  assist  in  the  defense  of  the 
country,   and  that  whoever  neglects  to   assemble,   and  do 


service  in  the  Loyal  militia,  should  be  made  to  serve  in  the 
regular  army.* 

Lord  Cornwallis,  on  the  twenty-ninth  of  August,  an- 
nounced to  Sir  Henrjr  Clinton:  "Ferguson  is  to  move 
into  Trjon  county  with  some  militia,  whom,  he  says,  he 
can  depend  upon  for  doing  their  duty  and  fighting  well ; 
but  I  am  sorry  to  say  that  his  own  experience,  as  well  as 
that  of  every  other  officer  is  totally  against  him."  It  is  not 
a  little  singular,  that  his  Lordship,  with  his  poor  opinion  of 
the  fighting  qualities  of  the  Tories,  should  have  ordered 
Ferguson  so  far  beyond  the  reach  of  succor,  in  case  of 
danger.  As  he  could  not  spare  any  detachment  of  regulars 
to  give  them  countenance,  he  probably  hoped  that  the 
Whigs  were  so  far  cowed  and  dispersed,  that  they  would 
not  give  Ferguson  any  serious  opposition. 

As  McDowell,  Clarke,  Shelby,  and  Williams  had  retired 
to  the  back  parts  of  North  Carolina,  Ferguson,  after  awhile, 
followed  into  that  quarter.  His  detachments,  however, 
during  the  heats  of  summer,  performed  many  of  their  move- 
ments at  night,  and  kept  beating  about  in  various  direc- 
tions, sometimes  in  the  North  Province  and  sometimes  in 
the  South,  in  search  of  prominent  Whig  leaders,  over-awing 
all  opposition,  plundering  whenever  they  found  anj^thing 
which  they  needed  or  coveted,  and  administering  the  oath 
of  allegiance  to  all  who  would  take  it,  with  liberal  tenders 
of  pardon  to  those  who  had  been  active  and  prominent  par- 
ticipators in  the  rebellion.  Many  submissions  were  made  ; 
but  oftener,  when  Ferguson's  and  Dunlap's  parties  would 
call  for  the  head  of  a  Whig  family,  he  was  pretty  certain, 
nine  cases  out  of  ten,  not  to  be  found  at  home — where  he 
was,  his  wife  and  children  could  not  say,  for,  in  truth,  they 
seldom  knew,  for  the  patriots  and  out-lyers  beat  about  quite 
as  much  as  those  in  quest  of  them. 

In  consequence  of  this  state  of  affairs,  the  old  people, 

*  MS.  record  obtained  by  Colonel  Sevier  from  a  Tory  Colonel  at  King's  Mountain,  as 
given  in  Ramsey's  Tennessee,  216-17. 


together  with  the  women  and  children,  would  fiequently 
gather  at  the  strongest  and  largest  house  in  their  region, 
taking  with  them  all  their  arms,  ammunition,  and  such  house- 
hold goods  as  they  needed,  or  could  not  conceal,  with  some- 
times a  few  men  in  vigorous  life  for  their  protection.  Such 
a  gathering  in  Colonel  William  Graham's  neighborhood 
took  place  at  his  residence,  near  the  west  bank  of  Buffalo 
creek,  in  then  Lincoln,  now  Cleveland  county,  about  eight 
miles  north  of  King's  Mountain,  and  about  seven  miles 
south-east  of  the  present  village  of  Shelby.  It  was  a  large, 
hewn-log-house,  weather-boarded,  and,  to  some  extent,  forti- 
fied ;  well  fitted  for  a  successful  defence  against  any  party 
with  small  arms  alone,  and  who  were  not  prepared  to  prose- 
cute a  regular  siege. 

Sometime  in  September,  one  of  these  Tory  marauding 
parties,  consisting  of  about  twentj^-three  in  number,  sud- 
denly made  their  appearance  before  Graham's  Fort.  The 
only  persons  there  capable  of  bearing  arms,  for  the  defence 
of  the  many  helpless  people,  old  and  young,  congregated 
there,  were  Colonel  Graham,  David  Dickey,  and  the  Colo- 
nel's step-son,  William  Twitty,  a  brave  youth  of  nineteen  ; 
but  they  were  fearless  and  vigilant.  The  Tory  party 
demanded  admittance,  but  were  promptly  refused  by  Colo- 
nel Graham  and  his  associates.  A  warm  attack  was  com- 
menced, the  Tories  firing  several  volleys,  without  doing 
much  damage,  yelling  out  at  the  top  of  their  voices,  after 
each  discharge,   "d — n  yon,  won't   j'ou  surrender  now?" 

One  fellow,  John  Burke,  more  venturesome  than  the 
rest,  ran  up  to  the  house,  and  through  a  crack  aimed  at 
young  Twitty,  when  Susan  Twitty,  the  sister  of  the  young 
soldier,  seeing  his  peril,  jerked  her  brother  down  just  as 
the  gun  fired,  the  ball  penetrating  the  opposite  wall.  She 
then  looked  out  of  the  aperture,  and  saw  Burke,  not 
far  off",  on  his  knees,  re-loading  for  another  fire;  and 
quickly  comprehending  the  situation,  exclaimed  :  "  brother 
Wilham,  now's  your  chance — shoot  the  rascal !  "    The  next 

146  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

instant  young  Twitty's  gun  cracked,  and  the  bold  Tory  was 
shot  through  the  head.  So  eager  was  Miss  Tvvitty  to  ren- 
der the  good  cause  any  service  in  her  power,  that  she  at 
once  unbarred  the  door,  darted  out,  and  brought  in,  amid 
a  shower  of  Tory  bullets,  Burke's  gun  and  ammunition,  as 
trophies  of  victory.  She  fortunately  escaped  unhurt.  It 
was  a  heroic  act  for  a  young  girl  of  seventeen.*  Losing 
one  of  their  number  killed,  and  three  wounded,  the  Tories 
at  length  beat  a  retreat.  Anticipating  that  the  enemy, 
smarting  under  their  repulse,  would  return  with  increased 
numbers,  Colonel  Graham  and  friends  retired  to  a  more  dis- 
tant place  of  safety,  when  a  large  Tory  party  re-appeared, 
with  no  one  to  oppose  them,  and  plundered  the  house  of 
clothing  and  other  valuables,  and  carried  off  six  of  Colo- 
nel Graham's  negroes. | 

Another  instance  where  a  party  of  the  enemy  fared  no 
better,  occurred  during  the  Tory  ascendency  in  1780. 
Adam  Reep,  a  staunch  Whig,  returning  home,  after  a  tour 
of  service  under  Colonel  Graham,  to  visit  his  family,  on  the 
western  bank  of  the  Catawba  river,  in  Lincoln  County, 
had  scarcely  reached  his  humble  domicile,  when  a  party  of 
ten  or  twelve  Tories,  under  the  leadership  of  a  British  offi- 
cer, made  their  appearance  just  at  the  gray  of  the  evening. 
Reep,  who,  like  a  good  minute  man,  was  always  on  the 
watch,  had  barely  time  to  close  and  bar  his  doors,  when  he 
mounted  his  ladder  with  his  faithful  rifle  ;  and  through  some 
port-holes  in  the  loft  of  his  house,  he  blazed  away  at  his 
enemies,  wounding  two  of  them,  when  the  party  fell  back 

*  This  noble  heroine  subsequently  married  John  Miller,  and  died  the  14th  of  April,  1825, 
at  the  age  of  sixty-two  years.  Her  son,  Hon.  W.J.  T.  Miller,  represented  Rutherford 
County,  in  the  Legislature  of  North  Carolina,  in  1836-40,  and  subsequently  Cleveland 
County,  when  it  was  organized,  and  where  he  still  resides  an  honored  and  useful  citizen. 

Mrs.  Miller's  brother,  William  Twitty,  who  aided  so  gallantly  in  the  defense  of  Gra- 
ham's Fort,  was  born  in  South  Carolina,  July  13th,  1761 ;  he  served  at  King's  Mountain, 
and  lived  at  Twitty's  Ford,  on  Broad  river,  where  he  died  February  2d,  1816,  in  his  fifty- 
fifth  year.  He  has  njany  worthy  decendants,  among  them  William  L.  and  Dr.  T.  B.  Twitty, 
grandsons,  the  latter  residing  at  the  old  homestead. 

t  MS.  pension  statement  of  Colonel  Graham,  and  MS.  correspondence  of  Hon.  W.  J. 
T.  Miller,  William  L.  Twitty,  and  Dr.  T.  B.  Twitty. 


to  a  safer  distance,  and  finally  retired  with  their  disabled 

Colonel  Ferguson  encamped  awhile  at  Gilbert  Town, 
some  three  miles  north  of  the  present  village  of  Rutherford- 
ton.  For  many  miles  around  people  wended  their  way  to 
the  head-quarters  of  this  noted  representative  of  the  British 
crown;  thinking,  as  Charleston  had  fallen.  Gates  been 
defeated,  Sumter  surprised  and  dispersed,  and  the  various 
detachments  lately  in  force  in  the  Spartanburg  region  were 
disbanded  or  scattered,  that  the  Whig  cause  was  now  utterly 
prostrate  and  hopeless.  Many  of  those  who  now  took  the 
oath  of  allegiance  to  the  British  Government,  subsequently 
excused  their  conduct  on  the  plea  that  the  country  was  over- 
run, and  that  this  was  the  only  course  by  which  they  could 
save  their  property,  secure  themselves  and  families  from 
molestation,  and  at  the  same  time  preserve  the  stock  of  the 
country  for  the  supply  of  the  needy  patriots  thereafter. 

While  in  this  mountain  region,  Ferguson  found  he  had 
a  case  of  small-pox  developing  itself.  It  was  one  of  his 
officers,  who  was  left  in  a  deserted  house,  taking  his  favor- 
ite charger  with  him.  And  there  the  poor  fellow  died  in 
this  lonely  situation ;  and  it  is  said  his  neglected  horse 
lingered  around  till  he  at  length  died  also.  It  was  a  long 
time  before  any  of  the  country  people  would  venture  to 
visit  the  solitary  pest-house — 

"And  there  lay  the  rider,  distorted  and  pale, 
With  the  dew  on  his  brow  and  the  rust  on  his  mail." 

Finalljr  some  one  ventured  there  and  carried  off  the  sword, 
holsters,  and  pistols,  selling  them  to  John  Ramsour,  who 
gave  them,  nearly  thirty  years  after,  to  Michael  Reinhardt.f 
Ferguson  led  a  detachment  to  surprise  Colonel  McDow- 
ell at  the  head  of  Cane  creek.  An  engagement  took  place 
with  McDowell's  troops,  who  had  been  beating  about  the 

'■'  MS.  statement  of  W.  M.  Reinhardt.  Esq.,  of  Lincolnton,  North  Carolina,  who  many 
years  ago  had  the  facts  from  Reap  himself, 

fMS.  statement  of  W.  M.  Reinhardt,  son  of  Michael,  who  yet  preserves  these  relics 
of  a  century  ago. 


mountain  country,  since  retiring  from  Smith's  Ford  on 
Broad  river,  and  were  now  retreating  towards  the  Watauga 
in  East  Tennessee.  The  British  force  encamped  at  the  noted 
White  Oak  Spring,  a  mile  and  a  half  east  of  the  present 
village  of  Brindletown,  in  the  south-eastern  part  of  Burke 
County  as  now  constituted,  and  on  the  direct  road  from 
Morganton  to  Gilbert  Town.  McDowell  learning  their 
position,  and  too  weak  to  meet  the  enemy  on  anything  like 
equal  terms,  concluded  to  waylay  them  on  renewing  their 
southward  march.  He,  therefore,  selected  a  fitting  spot  for 
an  ambuscade  at  Bedford's  Hill,  some  three  miles  south- 
west of  Brindletown,  in  the  south-eastern  corner  of 
McDowell  County,  and  something  like  fifteen  miles  from 
Gilbert  Town.  This  hill  was  a  small  round  elevation  about 
a  quarter  of  a  mile  from  the  base  of  the  South  Mountains 
then  covered  with  timber  and  surrounded  by  a  soft  swamp  ; 
located  on  the  eastern  side,  and  just  below,  the  Upper 
Crossing  of  Cane  creek,  now  known  as  Cowan's  Ford — 
which  ford  the  hill  commanded.  If  forced  to  retire,  the 
Whio-s  had  an  easy  access  to  the  mountains  close  by,  where 
they  would  be  safe  against  almost  any  force  that  the  enemy 
could  send  against  them. 

Here  McDowell's  partj'  awaited  the  coming  of  the  British 
force,  and,  as  they  were  passing  the  ford,  an  indecisive  fight 
transpired.  The  enem}',  after  receiving  the  unexpected 
fire  of  McDowell's  backwoodsmen,  rallied,  and  beat  back 
the  Americans,  killing,  among  others,  one  Scott,  of  Burke 
County,  while  standing  beside  the  late  James  Murphy,  of 
that  region.  By  the  heroic  efforts  especially  of  Major 
Joseph  McDowell — the  Colonel's  brother,  Captain  Thomas 
Kennedy,  and  one  McKay,  the  Whigs  were  again  brought 
into  action.  Major  McDowell  was  particularly  active, 
swearing  roundly  that  he  would  never  yield,  nor  should  his 
Burke  boys — appealing  to  them  to  stand  by  and  die  with 
him,  if  need  be.  B}^  their  united  bravery  and  good  bush- 
whacking management,  in  which  their  real  wickedness  was 


concealed,  and  by  their  activity  and  well  directed  rifle-shots 
they  succeeded  in  inflicting  considerable  execution  on  their 
antagonists — killing  several,  and,  among  others,  v\founding 
Major  Dunlap.  The  British  now  retired  to  Gilbert  Town, 
conveying  their  disabled  commander  with  them,  who  was 
severely  wounded  in  the  leg ;  while  McDowell's  party, 
numbering  about  one  hundred  and  sixty  only,  directed  their 
retreat  up  the  Catawba  valley,  and  over  the  mountains, 
for  the  friendly  Watauga  settlements. 

Quite  a  number  of  human  bones  were  brought  to  light, 
some  forty  years  ago,  at  the  point  where  this  Cane  creek 
fight  occurred — the  remains  of  the  British  and  Tories  who 
fell  in  this  spirited  contest.  This  action  occurred,  according 
to  Lieutenant  Allaire's  MS.  Diary,  on  the  twelfth  of  Sep- 
tember ;  and  had  its  influence,  as  the  sequel  will  show,  in 
rousing  the  people  over  the  mountains,  as  well  as  in  Wilkes 
and  Surry,  to  embody  under  their  gallant  leaders,  and  strike 
a  decisive  blow  against  the  bold  invader,  Ferguson.* 

It  has  been  stated,  near  the  close  of  the  chapter  on  the 
Musgrove's  Mill  expedition,  that  Shelby  and  his  associates 
on  that  service  had  agreed,  that  as  soon  as  they  could  col- 
lect the  necessary  force,  they  would  embody  their  several 
detachments,  and  attack  Ferguson.  It  was  correctly  antici- 
pated that  so  soon  as  that  British  leader  and  his  forces 
should  exhaust  the  beef  supply  in  the  Spartanburg  region, 
he  would  be  quite  certain  to  advance  into  Rutherford  and 
Burke  Counties,  in  North  Carolina,  where,  in  the  latter 
especially,  there  were  large  stocks  of  fine  cattle  ;  and  it  was 

*MS.  letter  of  Colonel  Isaac  T.  Avery,  October  19th,  i860,  to  Hon.  D.  L.  Swain;  MS. 
pension  statements  of  General  Thomas  Kennedy,  Colonel  William  Graham,  James  Blair, 
William  Walker,  and  Matthew  Kuykendall;  General  Lenoir's  Account  0/ King  s  Mountain, 
appended  to  this  volume  ;  MS.  correspondence  of  Colonel  S.  McDowell  Tate,  of  Morganton  ; 
T.  A.  Lewis,  of  Brindletown  ;  M.  O.  Dickerson  and  A  D.  K.  Wallace,  of  Rutherfordton, 
North  Carolina;  the  venerable  Andrew  B.  Long,  of  Rutherford  County,  whose  father,  at 
the  time  of  this  action  a  boy  of  ten  years,  resided  on  Cane  creek  ;  and  Wm.  L,  and  Dr. 
T.  B.  Twitty  also  of  Rutherford  County. 

Lieutenant  Allaire's  Diary  not  only  supplies  the  date  of  this  little  engagement,  but 
serves  to  corroborate  the  tradition  of  the  country,  that  McDowell's  men  were  drawn  uP 
"on  an  eminence  "—Bedford's  Hill  apparently ;  that,  according  to  this  account,  the  Whigs 
were  worsted,  losing  one  private  killed,. Captain  White  wounded,  seventeen  prisoners,  and 
twenty  pounds  of  powder  while  the  British  had  one  killed,  and  two  wounded-Captain 
Dunlap,  one  of  them,  receiving  two  wounds. 


enjoined  on  Colonel  Charles  McDowell,  to  devise  the  best 
means  possible  to  preserve  these  stocks  from  the  grasp  of 
the  British  and  Tories. 

Colonel  McDowell  called  the  leading  men  of  the  Upper 
Catawba  valley  together,  and  suggested,  simply  to  meet  the 
present  emergency,  that  they  should  repair  to  Gilbert  Town, 
take  British  protection,  and  thereby  save  the  Whig  stock, 
so  necessary  for  the  support  of  the  country,  from  being 
appropriated  by  the  enemy ;  that  no  man  would  thereby 
become  a  Tory  at  heart,  but  would  merely  exercise  a  wise 
stroke  of  public  policy — that  the  end  would  justify  the 
means  and  render  the  country  a  good  service.  Daniel 
Smith,  afterwards  Colonel,  Captains  Thomas  Lytle  and 
Thomas  Hemphill,  Robert  Patton,  and  John  McDowell,  of 
Pleasant  Garden — better  known  as  Hunting  John  McDowell 
— absolutely  refused  to  engage  in  any  such  course,  and 
stated  that  they  would  drive  all  the  stock  they  could  collect 
into  the  deep  coves  at  the  base  of  the  Black  Mountain  ;  that 
others  might,  if  they  would,  take  protection  and  save  the 
remainder  that  could  not  be  readily  collected  and  concealed. 
Captain  John  Carson,  a  distinguished  Indian  fighter,  after- 
wards known  as  Colonel  Carson,  Benjamin  and  William 
Davidson,  and  others,  were  designated  to  take  protection, 
and  thus  save  many  valuable  herds  of  cattle  from  the  grasp 
of  the  enemy.*  It  was  a  very  ungracious  act  on  their  part ; 
but  Carson  and  his  associates  deemed  it  justifiable  under 
the  circumstances — suggested  and  urged,  as  it  was,  by 
Colonel  McDowell,  in  behalf  of  the  Whig  cause.  While 
they  accomplished  the  object  they  had  in  view,  their 
motives,  in  the  course  of  time,  were  unjustly  misjudged 
and  impugned,  f 

*  MS.  statements  of  General  Joseph  McDowell  and  Colonel  David  Vance,  made  in  1797, 
and  preserved  by  the  late  Hon.  Robert  Henry— all  participants  in  the  King's  Mountain 

fHon.  Samuel  P.  Carson,  a  distinguished  member  of  Congress,  and  son  of  Colonel  Car- 
son, resented  an  aspersion  on  his  venerable  father's  character,  when  charged  with  having 
been  a  Tory,  which  resulted  in  an  unfortunate  duel,  and  the  death  of  his  antagonist. 


As  had  been  anticipated  by  the  patriots,  Ferguson,  either 
in  full  force,  or  with  a  strong  detachment,  penetrated  into 
the  very  heart  of  Burke  County — as  far  as  Davidson's 
"  Old  Fort,"  in  the  extreme  western  part  of  then  Burke, 
now  McDowell  county  ;  *  and  a  few  miles  farther  north,  up 
the  Catawba  Valley,  as  far  as  the  old  Edmondson  place, 
since  McEntyre's,  on  Buck  creek  at  the  foot  of  the  Blue 
Ridge.  On  their  way  thither,  the  British  force  was  supplied 
with  beef,  corn,  and  other  necessaries,  b}'  one  Wilson,  an 
Irishman,  who  afterwards  migrated  to  Tennessee,  and  for 
which  he  received  a  draft  on  the  British  Government  from 
which,  probably,  he  never  received  any  avails,  f 

While  in  the  region  of  Old  Fort,  a  detachment  of  the 
enemy,  under  the  command,  it  is  believed,  of  Col.  Fergu- 
son, concluded  to  pay  a  visit  to  Captain  Thomas  Lytle,  a 
noted  Whig  leader,  who  resided  some  four  miles  south-west 
of  that  locality  on  Crooked  creek.  Mrs.  Lytle,  a  spirited 
woman,  heard  of  this  intended  visitation  a  little  in  advance 
of  the  approach  of  the  party,  and  concluded  she  would 
don  her  nice  new  gown  and  beaver  hat,  in  procuring  which 
for  his  young  wife.  Captain  Lytle  had  spent  nearly  all  his 
Continental  money.  It  was  pardonable  of  Mrs.  Lytle  to 
make  this  display,  for  there  were  no  meetings  or  public 
gatherings,  in  that  frontier  mountain  region,  in  those  troub- 
lous times,  where  she  could  appear  in  her  gaudy  array  of 
new  finery.  She  naturally  felt  a  secret  satisfaction,  as  her 
husband  was  not  in  the  way  of  danger,  that  this  occasion 
had  presented  itself,  in  which  she  could  gratify  the  feehngs 
of  a  woman's  pride  in  making  what  she  regarded  as  an 
uncommonly  attractive  appearance.  She  took  unusual 
pains  in  making  up  her  toilet ;  for  though  she  was  no  Tory, 
she  yet  supposed  that  Colonel  Ferguson  was  a  gentleman, 
as  well  as  a  prominent  British  officer. 

*MS.  Correspondence  of  Colonel  Silas  McDowell. 

+  MS.  letter  of  Colonel  Isaac  T.  Avery,  November  2d,  i860,  on  authority,  of  Major  Ben 
Burgin,  whose  memory  went  back  to  the  Revolution. 


At  length,  the  Colonel,  at  the  head  of  his  squadron,  leis- 
urelj'  rode  up  toward  the  house.  He  halted  in  front  of  the 
door,  and  inquired  if  he  could  have  the  pleasure  of  a  few 
moments'  conversation  with  Captain  Lj^tle?  Mrs.  Lytle 
stepped  to  the  door  in  full  costume — probably  the  best 
dressed  lady  the  Colonel  had  seen  since  he  left  Charles- 
ton—  and  dropping  him  a  polite  courtesy,  in  accordance 
with  the  fashion  of  that  day,  invited  him  to  alight  and 
come  in.  He  thanked  her,  but  his  business,  he  said, 
required  haste ;  that  the  King's  army  had  restored  his 
authority  in  all  the  Southern  Provinces,  and  that  the  rebel- 
Hon  was  virtually  quelled ;  that  he  had  come  up  the  Valley 
to  see  Captains  Lytle  and  Hemphill,  and  a  few  others,  who 
had  served  in  the  Rebel  army  against  the  King,  and  that 
he  was  the  bearer  of  pardons  for  each  of  them. 

"My  husband,"  Mrs.  Lytle  replied,  "  is  from  home." 

"Madame,"  inquired  the  Colonel,  earnestly,  "do  you 
know  where  he  is  ?" 

"To  be  candid  with  you.  Colonel,"  said  Mrs.  Lytle,  "  I 
really  do  not ;  I  only  know  that  he  is  out  with  others  of  his 
friends  whom  you  call  Rebels." 

"Well,  madame,"  replied  Ferguson,  deprecatingly,  "  I 
have  discharged  my  duty ;  I  felt  anxious  to  save  Captain 
Lj'tle,  because  I  learn  that  he  is  both  brave  and  honorable. 
If  he  persists  in  rebellion,  and  comes  to  harm,  his  blood 
be  upon  his  own  head." 

"Colonel  Ferguson,"  she  responded,  thoughtfully  but 
firmly,  "  I  don't  know  how  this  war  may  end  ;  it  is  not  un- 
unlikely  that  my  husband  may  fall  in  battle  ;  all  I  positively 
know  is,  that  he  will  never  prove  a  traitor  to  his  country." 

"  Mrs.  Lytle,"  said  the  Colonel, patronizingly,  "I  admire 
you  as  the  handsomest  woman  I  have  seen  in  North  Caro- 
lina— I  even  half  way  admire  your  zeal  in  a  bad  cause  ; 
but,  take  my  word  for  it,  the  rebellion  has  had  its  day,  and 
is  now  virtually  put  down.  Give  my  kind  regards  to  Cap- 
tain Lytle,  and  tell  him  to  come  in.     He  will  not  be  asked 


to  compromise  his  honor ;  his  verbal  pledge  not  again  to 
take  up  arms  against  the  King,  is  all  that  will  be  asked  of 
him."  He  then  bowed  to  Mrs.  Lytle,  and  led  off  his 
troop.  A  straggler  in  the  rear  rode  back,  and  taking  off 
his  old  slouched  hat,  made  her  a  low  bow,  and  with  his  left 
hand  hfted  her  splendid  beaver  from  her  head,  replacing  it 
with  his  wretched  apology,  observing  with  mock  gravity, 
"Mrs.  Lylle,  I  can  not  leave  so  'handsome  a  I'ady  without 
something  by  which  to  remember  you."  As  he  rode  off, 
she  hallooed  after  him  :  "You'll  bite  the  dust  for  that,  you 
villain  !  "  Thus  Mrs.  Lytle  momentaril}^  enjoyed  the  occa- 
sion of  arraying  herself  in  her  best ;  but,  as  she  afterwards 
confessed,  she  paid  dearly  for  the  gratification  of  her  pride, 
and  long  mourned  the  loss  of  her  beautiful  beaver  hat.* 

Colonel  McDowell  had  completely  outwitted  Ferguson 
and  his  plundering  Tory  followers  ;  and  the  hungry  horde, 
who  invaded  the  Upper  Catawba  Valley  with  high  hopes 
and  expectations,  returned  to  their  camps  near  Gilbert 
Town  without  any  beef  cattle  as  a  recompense  for  all  their 
toils  and  troubles. 

After  the  affair  at  Cane  creek,  and  the  final  retirement 
beyond  the  mountains  of  the  last  remnant  of  embodied 
Whig  forces  in  the  western  region  of  the  Carolinas,  Fergu- 
son thought  the  matter  decided.  When  William  Green 
rode  up  with  a  troop  of  cavalry,  and  tendered  his  and  their 
services  for  the  defense  of  the  King's  cause,  Ferguson 
thanked  them  for  their  loyalty ;  but  declined  their  accept- 
ance, as  the  country  was  subdued,  and  everything  was  quiet. 

It  was  reported  to  Colonel  Ferguson,  that  Jonathan 
Hampton,  a  son  of  Colonel  Andrew  Hampton,  residing  in 
the  vicinity  of  Gilbert  Town,  held  the  King's  authorit}?  in 

=■=  MS.  correspondence  with  the  late  Colonel  Silas  McDowell,  of  Macon  County,  North 
Carolina,  in  1873-74,  who  had  these  particulars  from  Mrs.  Lytle  herself.  Colonel  McDowell* 
thought  it  was  Tarleton  who  visited  Captain  Lytle's,  but  it  could  not  have  been,  as  his 
"Campaigns"  and  map  of  the  route  of  his  excursions  show  that  he  was  never  above 
Cowan's  Ford  on  the  Catawba,  while  it  is  certain  that  Colonel  Ferguson  was  in  Burke 
County.  Captain  Lytle  died  not  very  far  from  1832,  at  the  age  of  about  eighty-three  years; 
and  his  venerable  companion  gently  passed  away  about  the  same  time. 

154  KING  •■  S  MO  UNTAIN 

great  contempt ;  that  he  had  the  hardihood  to  accept  a  com- 
mission of  Justice  of  the  Peace  from  the  Rebel  Government 
of  North  Carolina,  and  had,  only  recently,  ventured,  by 
virtue  of  that  instrument,  to  unite  Thomas  Fleming  and 
a  neighboring  young  lady  in  the  holy  bonds  of  wedlock. 
It  was  a  high  crime  and  misdemeanor  in  British  and  Tory 
e3'es.  So  a  party  of  four  or  five  hundred  men  were  dis- 
patched, under  Majors  Plummer  and  Lee,  to  visit  the 
Hampton  settlement,  four  or  five  miles  south-west  of  Gil- 
bert Town,  to  apprehend  young  Hampton,  and  possibly 
entrap  his  father  at  the  same  time.  But  the  Colonel  had 
left  the  day  before,  and  re-united  with  McDowell's  forces. 
Riding  up  to  j'oung  Hampton's  cabin,  they  found  him  sit- 
ting at  the  door,  fastening 'on  his  leggings,  and  getting 
himself  in  readiness  to  follow  his  father  to  the  Whig  camp 
in  some  secluded  locality  in  the  mountain  coves  of  that 

At  this  moment,  James  Miller,  and  Andrew  and  David 
Dickey,  three  Whig  friends,  came  within  hailing  distance, 
and  hallooed:  "Jonathan,  are  those  men  in  the  yard, 
friends  or  foes  ! " 

Hampton,  without  exercising  ordinary  prudence,  re- 
plied :  "  Boys,  whoever  you  are,  they  are  d — d  Red  Coats 
and  Tories — clear  yourselves  !  " 

As  they  started  to  run,  the  Tories  fired  two  or  three  vol- 
leys at  them  ;  but  they  fortunately  escaped  unhurt.  Per- 
haps Hampton  presumed  somewhat  upon  his  partially 
crippled  condition  that  forbearance  would  be  shown  him, 
for  he  was  reel-footed ;  yet  he  managed  to  perform  many  a 
good  service  for  his  country,  and,  as  in  this  case,  would  ^ 
lose  sight  of  self,  when  he  could  hope  to  benefit  his  friends. 
Mrs.  Hampton  chided  him  for  his  imprudence,  saying: 
"Why,  Jonathan,  you  are  the  most  unguarded  man  I  ever 

The  Tory  party  cursed  him  soundly  for  a  d — d  Rebel, 
and  Major  Lee  knocked  him  down,  and  tried  to  ride  over 


him,  but  his  horse  jumped  clear  over  his  body  without 
touching  him.  Lee  had  just  before  appropriated  Hamp- 
ton's horse  as  better  than  his  own,  and  it  may  be  that  the 
animal  recognized  his  master,  and  declined  to  be  a  party 
to  his  injury.  While  Major  Plummer  was  courteous  and 
considerate,  Major  Lee  was  rude  and  unfeeling  in  the 
extreme,  Hampton,  and  his  wife's  brother,  Jacob  Hyder, 
were  made  prisoners ;  and  those  who  had  Hampton  in 
charge,  swore  that  they  would  hang  him  on  the  spot,  and 
began  to  uncord  his  bed  for  a  rope  for  the  purpose,  when 
Mrs.  Hampton  ran  to  Major  Plummer  with  the  alarm,  and 
he  promptly  interposed  to  prevent  the  threatened  execution. 
Some  of  the  disappointed  Tories,  who  thirsted  for  his 
blood,  declared  in  his  presence,  that  Ferguson  would  put 
so  notorious  a  Rebel  to  death  the  moment  he  laid  eyes  on 
him.  Major  Plummer  informed  Hampton  if  he  could 
give  security  for  his  appearance  the  next  day  at  Gilbert 
Town,  he  might  remain  over  night  at  home.  He  tried 
several  Loyalists  whom  he  knew,  but  they  declined ;  and 
finally  Major  Plummer  himself  offered  to  be  his  security. 
According  to  appointment,  the  next  day  Hampton  pre- 
sented himself  to  Ferguson,  at  Gilbert  Town,  who  pro- 
ceeded to  examine  his  case.  When  asked  his  name,  he 
frankly  told  him,  adding,  that,  though  in  the  power  of  his 
enemies,  he  would  never  deny  the  honored  name  of  Hamp- 
ton. Major  Dunlap,  then  on  crutches,  entering  the  room, 
inquired  of  Colonel  Ferguson  the  name  of  the  Rebel 
on  trial?  "  Hampton,"  replied  Ferguson.  This  seemed  to 
rouse  Dunlap's  ire,  who  repeated  thoughtfully:  "Hamp- 
ton—  Hampton — -that's  the  name  of  a  d — d  fine-looking 
young  Rebel  I  killed  a  while  since,  on  the  head  of  Paco- 
let,"  referring  to  the  affair  at  Earle's  Ford,  when  Noah 
Hampton,  a  brother  of  the  prisoner,  was  murdered  in  cold 
blood.  Dunlap  added:  "Yes;  I  now  begin  to  recall 
something  of  this  fellow;  and  though  a  cripple,  he  has  done 
more  harm  to  the  Royal  cause  than  ten  fighting  men  ;  he  is 


one  of  the  d — dest  Rebels  in  all  the  country,  and  ought  to 
be  strung  up  at  once,  without  fear  or  favor." 

Jonathan  Hampton  had,  indeed,  been  an  unwearied 
friend  of  the  Whig  cause.  He  was  a  good  talker  ;  he  kept 
up  the  spirits  of  the  people,  and  helped  to  rally  the  men 
when  needed  for  military  service.  Even  in  his  crippled 
condition,  he  would  cheerfully  lend  a  helping  hand  in  stand- 
ing guard;  and,  when  apprehended,  was  about  abandoning 
his  home  to  join  his  father  and  McDowell  in  their  flight  to 
Watauga.  But  Ferguson  was  more  prudent  and  humane 
than  Dunlap,  and  dismissed  both  Hampton  and  Hj'der  on 
their  parole.  Hampton  observed  when  Ferguson  wrote  the 
paroles,  he  did  so  with  his  left  hand  ;  for,  it  will  be  remem- 
bered, his  right  arm  had  been  badly  shattered  at  Brandywine, 
the  use  of  which  he  had  never  recovered.  Hyder  tore  up 
his  parole,  shortly  after  leaving  Ferguson's  presence  ;  but 
Hampton  retained  his  as  long  as  he  lived,  but  never  had 
occasion  to  use  it,  as  Ferguson  shortly  after  retired  to 
King's  Mountain,  and  the  region  of  Gilbert  Town  was 
never  after  invaded  bj^  a  British  force.* 

Major  James  Dunlap,  who  figured  so  prominently  in  the 
military  operations  in  Spartanburg  during  the  summer  of 
1780,  now  claims  at  our  hands  a  further  and  final  notice. 
Of  his  origin,  we  have  no  account.  He  must  have  been  a 
man  of  enterprise,  for  he  was  commissioned  a  Captain  in 
the  Queen's  Rangers,  a  partisan  corps,  November  twenty- 
seventh,  1776.  This  corps  had  been  raised  during  the  sum- 
mer and  autumn  of  that  year,  from  native  Loyalists,  mostly 
refugees   from  Connecticut,  and  from   the  vicinity  of  New 

*MS.  correspondence  of  Adam  and  James  J.  Hampton,  sons  of  Jonathan  Hampton,  in 
1873-74:  MS.  letter  of  Colonel  Isaac  T.  Avery,  October  igth,  i860;  and  MS.  letter  of  Colo- 
nel Silas  ^TcDowell,  July  13th,  1873. 

This  sterling  patriot.  Jon.ithan  Hampton,  was  born  on  Dutchman's  creek,  Lincoln 
County,  near  the  Catawba  river,  North  Carolina,  in  1751;  and  when  nearly  grown,  he 
removed  with  his  father,  and  settled  on  Mountain  creek,  four  or  five  miles  south-west  of 
Gilbert  Town.  He  was  many  years  clerk  of  the  Rutherford  court,  and  five  years  repre- 
sented the  County  in  the  State  Senate  in  the  early  part  of  the  present  century.  He  died 
at  Gilbert  Town,  October  3d.  1843,  at  the  venerable  age  of  ninety-two  years.  Of  his  large 
family,  but  one  son  survives — Jonathan  Hampton,  Jr.,  now  eighty-five  years  of  age. 


York,  by  Colonel  Robert  Rogers,  who  had  distinguished 
himself  with  a  corps  of  Rangers  on  the  frontiers  of  New 
York  and  Canada,  during  the  French  and  Indian  war  of 
1755-60.  The  month  before  Dunlap  had  become  a  Captain 
in  the  corps,  Rogers  had  been  surprised  at  Mamoroneck, 
on  Long  Island  Sound,' losing  nearly  eighty  killed  and  cap- 
tured, together  with  sixty  stand  of  arms.* 

Such  was  the  daring  and  good  service  of  the  Qiieen's 
Rangers  at  Brandy  wine,  September  eleventh,  1777,  that 
the  British  Commander-in-chief  particularly  complimented 
them  "for  their  spirited  and  gallant  behavior  in  the  engage- 
ment," f  in  which  they  suffered  severely.  The  ensuing 
year  they  shared  in  the  operations  around  Philadelphia, 
and  in  New  Jersey.  In  the  affair  at  Hancock's  House, 
near  Salem,  New  Jersey,  on  the  night  of  the  twentieth  of 
March,  1778,  Captain  Dunlap  bore  a  prominent  part.  The 
order  was  a  most  sanguinary  one: — "  Go — sfare  no  one — 
■put  all  to  death — give  no  quarters!'^  The  house  was  gar- 
risoned by  twenty  men,  under  Captain  Carleton  Sheppard  ; 
and  with  them  were  four  Loyalist  prisoners — ^Judge  Han- 
cock, the  owner  of  the  house,  and  three  other  Qiiakers — 
one  of  whom  was  Charles  Fogg,  "  a  very  aged  man."  All 
were  asleep,  and  the  work  of  death  by  the  sword  and  bayo- 
net was  quick  and  terrible.  Some  accoimts  represent  that 
all,  others  two-thirds,  of  the  occupants,  garrison  and  prison- 
ers, were  horribly  mangled  by  Dunlap  and  his  fiendish  as- 
sociates— among  them  were  Judge  Hancock  and  some  of 
his  Quaker  brethren.  Simcoe,  of  the  Rangers,  speaks  of 
this  undesigned  destruction  of  their  friends  as  "among  the 
real  miseries  of  war,"  though  he  had  no  tears  to  shed  for 
the  score  or  two  of  patriots  who  fell  without  resi stance.]: 

Dunlap  and  the  Queen's  Rangers  shared  in  the  British 
retreat  from  Philadelphia  to  New  York,  and  in  the  battle  of 

*  Lossing's  Field  Book  of  the  Revolution,  ii,  615. 
t  Simcoe'syiJ7^r«rt/,  319. 

XlQh-as,oxi' 5  History  of  Salem   New  Jersey:  T.arber  and  Howe's  Historical  Collections 
of  New  Jersey,  426-28  ;  Lossing's  Field  Book,  ii,  139  ;  Simcoe' s  Journal,  51-52. 


Monmouth,  in  June,  1778.  On  the  thirty-first  of  August 
ensuing,  the  Rangers  participated  in  a  bloody  affair  near 
King's  Bridge,  on  the  Hudson.  A  party  of  Americans  and 
friendly  Stockbridge  Indians  were  drawn  into  an  ambus- 
cade, which  resulted  in  the  loss  of  nearl}^  fort}' — fully  twenty 
of  whom  were  Indians,  either  killed  or  desperately  woun- 
ded, and  among  the  slain  were  Ninham,  their  chief,  and  his 
son  of  the  same  name.*  The  following  year,  besides  some 
garrison  dutjr  at  Oj'Ster  Bay,  the  Rangers  served  on  forag- 
ing and  scouting  parties,  during  which  they  encountered 
some  occasional  skirmishing.  In  one  of  these  forays,  at 
Brunswick,  New  Jersey,  they  were  unexpectedly  fired  upon 
by  the  Americans  in  ambush  ;  and  among  other  casualties, 
their  commander,  Lieutenant-Colonel  Simcoe,  was  taken 
prisoner.  Sir  Henry  Clinton,  early  in  1780,  declared  that 
the  history  of  the  corps  had  been  a  "  sei"ies  of  gallant,  skil- 
ful, and  successful  enterprises  against  the  enemy,  without  a 
reverse,  and  have  killed  and  taken  twice  their  own  num- 

Such  were  the  services  of  the  Queen's  Rangers,  and  the 
experience  of  Captain  Dunlap,  prior  to  his  engaging  in  the 
expedition  against  Charleston,  in  December,  i779-  He 
would  seem  to  have  been  one  of  the  picked  officers  of  Colo- 
nel Ferguson,  for  his  select  partisan  corps  for  this  new 
enterprise.  Dunlap  shared  in  the  siege  and  capture  of 
Charleston,  doubtless  in  the  same  operations,  as  described 
in  a  previous  chapter,  in  which  Ferguson's  corps  was 
engaged,  and  was  sent  to  the  western  borders  of  South 
Carolina,  under  Ferguson,  immediately  after  the  fall  of 
Charleston.  His  attack  on  McDowell's  force  at  Earle's 
Ford,  on  North  Pacolet,  and  the  affair  near  Cedar  Spring 
and  Wofford's  Iron  Works,  together  with  the  engagement 
at  Cane  creek,  where  he  was  severely  wounded,  have 
already  been  related. 

"  Continental  Journal,  September  17th,  1778;  Simcoe's  Military  Journal,  83-86,  and 
accompanying  diagram;  Massacre  0/  the  Stockbridge  Indians,  by  Thomas  F.  De  Voe,  in 
Magazine  of  Ajnerican  History,  September,  1880. 

I  Sxmcoit' s  Journal,  introductory  memoir,  x. 


Majoi-  Dunlap  has  left  behind  him  an  unenviable  repu- 
tation. The  bloocl}^  work  he  performed  at  the  Hancock 
House,  and  his  share  in  the  destruction  of  Ninham  and  his 
Stockbridge  warriors,  would  appear  to  have  been  in  the 
line  of  his  taste  and  character.  "He  had,"  says  Judge 
Johnson,  in  his  Life  of  Gj-ccne,  "rendered  himself  infamous 
by  his  barbarity."  "His  severities,"  said  Major  James 
Sevier,  one  of  the  King's  Mountain  men,  "incensed  the 
people  against  him."  It  is  certain  he  was  an  advocate  for 
hanging  Whigs  for  no  other  crime  than  sympathizing  with 
their  suffering  country ;  his  brutal  language  to  this  effect, 
in  the  presence  of,  and  concerning  Jonathan  Hampton,  must 
be  fresh  in  the  reader's  remembrance.  That  such  a  man, 
characterized  by  such  practices,  should,  sooner  or  later, 
come  to  an  untimely  end,  is  neither  strange  nor  unexpected. 

SnufEng  the  approaching  storm,  Ferguson  suddenly 
abandoned  his  camp  at  Gilbert  Town  to  avoid  the  approach 
of  the  over-mountain  men.  Dunlap,  upon  his  crutches,  and 
in  such  a  hurried  retreat,  was  in  no  condition  to  accompany 
the  retiring  forces.  William  Gilbert,  with  whom  he  was 
stopping  while  recovering  from  his  wound,  was  a  loyal 
friend  of  King  George  ;  and  while  he  himself  seems  to  have 
gone  off  with  Ferguson,  Mrs.  Gilbert  and  the  family  re- 
mained to  take  proper  care  of  the  invalid.  A  soldier  of  the 
name  of  Coates  was  left  to  wait  upon  him,  but  who,  not 
long  after,  provoking  the  mortal  ire  of  a  negro  of  Gilbert's, 
was  killed  by  him,  and  his  remains  consumed  in  a  coal-pit. 

This  event  of  ill-omen  was  speedily  followed  by  an  almost 
tragic  occurrence.  The  avenger  of  blood  was  nigh.  Two 
or  three  men  from  Spartanburg  rode  to  the  door  of  the  Gil- 
bert house,  shortly  after  Ferguson  had  commenced  his 
retreat  for  King's  Mountain,  when  the  leader.  Captain  Gil- 
lespie, asked  Mrs.  Gilbert  if  Major  Dunlap  was  not  up 
stairs?  She  frankly  replied  that  he  was,  probably  supposing 
that  the  party  were  Loyalists,  and  had  some  important  com- 
munication  for  him.      They  soon   disabused   her  of  their 

1 60  KING' S  MO  UNTAIN 

character  and  mission,  for  they  declared  that  he  had  been 
instrumental  in  putting  some  of  their  friends  to  death,  and, 
moreover,  had  abducted  the  beautiful  Mary  McRea,  the  affi- 
anced of  Captain  Gillespie,  as  she  would  not  encourage  his 
amorous  advances,  and  kept  her  in  confinement,  trusting 
that  she  would  in  time  yield  to  his  wishes ;  but  death  came 
to  her  relief,  she  probably  dying  broken-hearted.  They 
had  now  come  for  revenge  ;  Gillespie,  particularly,  uttering 
his  imprecations  on  the  head  of  the  cruel  destroyer  of  all 
his  earthly  hopes.  So  saj'ing,  they  mounted  the  stairs, 
when  Gillespie  abruptly  approached  Dunlap,  as  he  lay  in 
bed,  with  the  inquiry:  "Where  is  Mary  McRea?"  "In 
heaven,"  was  the  reply  ;  whereupon  the  injured  Captain 
shot  him  through  the  body  ;  and  quickly  remounting  their 
horses,  Gillespie  and  his  associates  bounded  away  towards 
their  Spartanburg  homes.  This  is  the  tradition,  sifted  and 
collated,  as  preserved  in  the  Hampton  family.* 

Colonel  Silas  McDowell,  who  visited  his  old  friertd,  Jona- 
than Hampton,  in  183 1,  heard  him  relate  the  story  of  Dun- 
lap  being  shot,  but  could  only  recall  the  main  fact,  that  the 
perpetrator  of  the  act,  some  friend  of  Noah  Hampton,  whom 
Dunlap  had  boasted  of  slaying,  had  rushed  to  the  Major's 
up-stairs  room,  and  shot  him  through  the  body  as  he  lay  on 
his  couch.  M.  O.  Dickerson,  Esq.,  of  Rutherfordton,  has 
had  substantially  the  same  relation  from  Mr.  Hampton. 
The  old  Gilbert  house  was  then  standing,  and  Hampton 
pointed  out  to  both  these  visitors  the  stain  of  Dunlap's  blood 
still  discernible  upon  the  floor ;  and  there  are  others,  still 
living,  who  have  seen  it  also.  This  venerable  building, 
in  which  the  early  courts  of  the  County  were  held,  when 
about  to  fall  from  age,  was  taken  down  some  four  or  five 
years  since,  by  its  present  owner,  J.  A.  Forney,  Esq.,  who 

*MS.  correspondence  with  the  late  venerable  Adam  and  James  J.  Hampton,  in  1873- 
74;  and  the  present  venerable  Jonathan  Hampton,  in  1880,  sons  of  the  patriot,  Jonathan 
Hampton.  Sr. 

W.  O.  Dickerson  states  that  it  has  been  handed  down  as  the  opinion  of  some  of  the  old 
people  of  that  region,  that  Mrs.  Gilbert  and  her  son  made  way  with  the  unfortunate  Major 
Dunlap  ;  but  this  seems  to  have  been  a  cruel  and  baseless  suspicion. 







has  preserved  the  blood-stained  floor-plank.  While  these 
traditions  differ  somewhat  in  their  details,  all  having  a  com- 
mon origin  from  the  old  patriarch,  Jonathan  Hampton,  Sr., 
they  all  agree  in  the  general  conclusion,  that  Dunlap  was 
shot  in  retaliation  for  alleged  cruelties — either  in  killing 
Whigs,  or  abducting  Miss  McRea,  or  both  ;  and  all  coin- 
cide in  the  belief,  that  the  redoubtable  Major  was  killed 
outright,  and  buried  about  three  hundred  yards  south  of  the 
Gilbert  house,  the  grave  being  still  pointed  out,  marked  by 
a  granite  rock  at  the  head  and  foot.* 

Major  James  Holland  lived  at  Gilbert  Town  for  many 
years,  and  was  a  prominent  character.  In  1783,  he  repre- 
sented Rutherford  County  in  the  State  Senate  ;  in  17S6  and 
1789,  he  was  in  the  House  of  Commons,  and  served  a  term 
in  Congress  from  1795  to  1797.  In  this  latter  j^ear,  he  was 
again  chosen  to  a  seat  in  the  State  Senate,  and  then  served 
five  consecutive  terms  in  Congress,  from  1801  until  181 1. 
The  late  venerable  Adam  Hampton  wrote  in  1873  :  "  I  will 
relate  to  you  what  I  heard  Major  James  Holland  say  in 
reference  to  Major  Dunlap's  grave.  He  said  that  in  1809, 
w^hile  serving  as  a  member  of  Congress  at  Washington,  he 
dreamed  that  a  quantity  of  gold  ^vas  buried  with  Dunlap, 
and,  on  his  return  home,  he  opened  the  grave,  and  found 
sixty-one  guineas." 

From  all  these  traditions  and  relations,  it  would  ordi- 
narily be  concluded,  that  Dunlap  assuredly  di-ed  of  the 
wound  inflicted  by  Captain  Gillespie.  It  is  quite  clear, 
however,  that  he  did  not.  We  can  only  suppose  that,  when 
shot,  he  was  left  unconscious,  or  feigned  death  ;  and  when 
Gillespie's  party  departed,  it  was  reported,  for  his  safety, 
that  he  was  killed  and  buried  near  by ;  and  it  is  possible, 
that  the  Major  may  have  had  his  servant,  Coates,  secrete 
his  money  there  before  the  latter  was  murdered  by  the 
negro.      Though  in  a  Tory  region,  it  would  not  have  been 

*MS.  letters  of  Adam,  James  J.,  and  Jonathan  Hampton,  Jr.,  and  M.  O.  Dickerson, 
W.  L.  and  Dr.  T.  B.  Twitty,  and  MibS  N.  M.  JIcDowell. 


safe  to  have  had  it  known  that  Dunlap  was  still  alive  ;  for 
Gillespie,  or  others,  would  surely  have  come  to  make  the 
work  of  death  more  certain  next  time.  He  was  too  feeble, 
with  this  additional  wound,  to  be  removed  at  once  to  Ninety- 
Six — the  nearest  British  fort,  after  Cornwallis  had  fled  from 
Charlotte  ;  and  it  was  fully  ninety  miles  from  Gilbert  Town 
to  Ninety  Six,  in  a  direct  course,  and  considerably  more  by 
such  by-ways  as  it  would  have  been  necessary  to  pursue,  in 
order  to  avoid  the  intervening  Whig  settlements.  Hence 
the  necessity  of  circulating  this  report  of  his  death,  which 
must  have  been  well  kept,  and  which  the  Hampton  family 
fully  credited,  and  which  Major  James  Sevier  corroborated, 
in  a  general  way,  to  the  writer,  in  1844,  by  asserting,  that 
for  his  cruelties,  Dunlap  had  been  killed  by  a  party  of 
Whigs  at  Gilbert  Town.  But  as  Major  Sevier  made  no 
mention  of  having  heard  anything  concerning  Dunlap  on 
the  night  of  the  third  of  October,  when  he  and  his  fellow- 
mountaineers  were  at  Gilbert  Town,  the  wounded  Major 
must,  at  that  time,  have  been  secreted  somewhere  in  the 
neighboring  hills  or  fastnesses  for  safety.  And  even  after 
the  war,  as  Gilbert  was  well  known,  and  had  figured  some- 
what in  public  life,  he  may  have  deemed  it  good  policy  to 
refrain  from  revealing  the  fact  that  he  or  his  family  had  so 
long  concealed  Dunlap,  and  perhaps  secretly  aided  him  in 
effecting  his  escape  to  Ninety  Six. 

As  soon  as  he  was  able  to  ride,  it  would  seem,  he  was 
conveyed  to  Ninety  Six  ;  and  if  any  gold  had  been  buried 
bj^  Coates  in  his  behalf,  near  by,  for  safe  keeping.  Major 
Dunlap  must  have  been  unable  to  find  it,  for  had  the  Gil- 
berts secreted  it  for  him,  they  would  have  known  the  place 
of  its  concealment.  We  find  him  at  Ninety  Six,  in  March, 
1781,  and  sufficiently  recovered  for  active  service.  He  was 
sent  with  a  party  of  seventy-six  dragoons  on  a  foraging 
expedition.  Receiving  intelligence  of  this  plundering  ma- 
raud, General  Pickens  detached  Colonel  Clarke  and  Major 
McCall  with   a  sufficient  force   to    attack   him.      On   the 


twenty-fourth  of  March,  they  came  up  with  him  encamped 
at  Beattie's  Mill,  on  Little  river,  some  twenty-two  miles 
from  Ninety  Six.  Dispatching  a  party  to  take  possession 
of  a  bridge  over  which  Dunlap  would  necessarily  pass  on 
his  return,  the  main  body  advanced  and  took  him  b}^  sur- 
prise. He  retired  into  the  mill  and  some  neighboring  out- 
houses, but  which  were  too  open  for  protection  against  rifle- 
men. "Recollecting,"  as  the  historian,  McCall,  asserts, 
"his  outragedus  conduct  to  the  families  and  friends  of  those 
by  whom  he  was  attacked,  Dunlap  resisted  for  several  hours, 
until  thirty -four  of  his  men  were  killed  and  wounded — him- 
self among  the  latter — -when  a  flag  was  hung  out,  and  they 
surrendered,"  else  all  would  have  been  sooner  or  later 
picked  oft"  by  Clarke's  and  McCall's  unerring  riflemen. 
In  General  Pickens'  report,  as  published  by  Congress,  the 
number  is  stated  as  thirty-four  of  the  enemy  killed,  and 
forty-two  taken  ;  so  the  wounded  must  have  been  included 
among  the  captives.  The  prisoners  were  sent  to  Watauga 
settlement,  in  East  Tennessee,  for  safe  keeping. 

"The  British  account  of  this*affair,"  adds  McCaU, 
' '  stated  that  Dunlap  was  murdered  by  the  guard  having 
him  in  chargCj  after  his  surrender ;  but  such  was  not  the 
fact — for  he  died  of  his  wounds  the  ensuing  night."  It  is 
evident  from  General  Greene's  general  order  of  the  subse- 
quent sixteenth  of  April,  that  Dunlap  was  taken  prisoner, 
and  nothing  could  have  been  said  in  Pickens'  first  report  of 
the  action  relative  to  the  Major's  death ;  hence  it  could 
hardly  have  occurred  so  soon  after  his  surrender  as  McCall 
states.  But  McCall  errs  in  supposing  that  Dunlap  was  not 
killed  by  his  guard,  or  by  some  one  with  their  connivance. 
It  was  covered  up,  as  much  as  possible,  by  those  who  per- 
petrated the  act ;  but  General  Pickens,  whose  high  sense  of 
honor  revolted  against  such  turpitude,  even  against  an  offi- 
cer of  Dunlap's  infamous  character,  "offered  a  hand- 
some reward  for  the  murdei'ers,"  as  General  Greene  sub- 
sequently testifies  in  a  letter  to  the  British  Colonel  Balfour, 


accompanied  with  a  copy  of  Pickens'  order  proclaiming 
the  reward. 

Thus  wretchedly  perished,  at  the  hands  of  his  enemies, 
Major  James  Dunlap.  While  the  manner  of  his  taking  off 
is  to  be  regretted,  it  must  be  confessed  that  he  had  little 
reason  to  expect  better  treatment.  He  had  led  a  life  of 
military  savagery,  and  his  "outrageous  conduct"  to  the 
families  of  Clarke's  and  McCall's  men,  was  perfectly  in 
keeping  with  his  previous  actions,  and  very  naturally  pro- 
voked the  retaliation  of  those  whom  he  had  so  grievously 

His  rank  was  Captain  in  the  Queen's  Rangers,  and  ap- 
parently Major  in  the  special  service  to  which  he  was 
assigned  in  Ferguson's  corps.  As  the  commission  of  his 
successor  in  the  Rangers  —  Bennet  Walpole — bore  date 
March  twenty-ninth,  1781,  that  very  likely  fixes  the  time  of 
Dunlap's  death.  His  name  last  appears  in  the  Royal  Army 
List,  published  in  New  York  in  1781,  which  was  probably 
issued  before  his  death  in  March  had  been  learned.  Had 
he  been  killed  in  the  preceding  October  at  Gilbert  Town, 
his  name  would  doubtless  have  disappeared,  and  that  of  his 
successor  taken  its  place.  It  is  certain  that  Dunlap  belonged 
to  the  Queen's  Rangers,  and  there  was  no  other  person  of 
his  name  and  rank  either  in  the  Rangers  or  any  other  Pro- 
vincial corps ;  so  it  is  not  possible  that  there  could  have 
been  two  Major  Dunlaps  killed — one  at  Gilbert  Town,  and 
the  other  at  or  near  Beattie's  Mill. 

'^  Maryland  Journal,  May  ist  and  8th,  1781 ;  Massachusetts  Spy,  June  14th,  1781;  Mc- 
Call's Georgia,  ii,  361  ;  Gordon's  Am.  Rev.,  iv,  167 ;  Johnson's  Life  0/  Greene,  ii,  107,  135, 
195;  Gibbes'  Doc.  History,  1781-82,  169;  Greene's  Greene,  iii,  232;  MS.  pension  statements 
of  Absalom  Thompson  and  Joel  Darcy, 

McCall  gives  the  date  of  the  affair  at  Beattie's  Mill  as  March  21st;  but  Pickens' report, 
as  published  by  Congress,  says  it  occurred  on  the  24th  of  that  month,  and  his  authority 
would  seem  to  be  most  reliable. 

Credit  is  due  to  Charles  R.  Hildeburn,  Esq.,  of  Philadelphia,  for  the  christian  name  of 
Major  Dunlap.  with  the  date  of  his  commission  in  the  Rangers,  and  that  of  his  successor. 
Mr.  Hildeburn  has  given  special  attention  to  the  leaders  in  the  Loyalist  corps,  and  learned 
the  facts  in  question  from  the  rare  Royal  Army  Lists,  published  in  New  York  from  1777  to 



July— October,  1780. 

Gathering-  of  the  King's  Mountain  Clans. —  Williams'  failure  to  get  com- 
mand of  Sumter  s  men — his  tricky  treatment  of  Sumter. —  Fergu- 
son sends  a  threat  to  the  over-mountain  men. —  Shelby  s  patriotic 
efforts  to  turn  the  scales  on  Ferguson. — Sevier,  McDowell,  Hamp- 
ton, and  Campbell  unite  in  the  Enterprise — Cleveland  invited  to 
jointhe?n. — Sevier's  success  in  providing  Supplies  for  the  Expedition. 
— Rendezvous  at  the  Sycamore  Shoals. — Preparations  for  the  March. 
■ — Parson  Doak  commends  tJie  men  to  the  protection  of  the  Good 
Father. —  Their  March  over  the  mountains. —  foined  by  Cleveland 
and  Winston. —  Campbell  chosen  to  the  Chief  Command.  —  Mc- 
Dowell's mission  for  a  General  Officer. 

Colonel  Williams,  as  we  have  seen,  was  honored  by 
Governor  Rutledge,  in  September,  with  a  commission  of 
Brigadier-General  in  the  South  Carolina  militia,  in  recog- 
nition of  his  having  been,  as  the  Govei^nor  was  led  to 
believe,  the  chief  commander  of  the  Whigs  at  the  battle  of 
Musgrove's  Mill.  Governor  Nash,  of  North  Carolina,  had 
given  him  permission  to  recruit,  within  that  State,  not  to 
exceed  a  hundred  horsemen.  With  his  commission  in  his 
pocket,  he  at  once  repaired  to  Sumter's  camp,  on  the 
Catawba  Reservation,  east  of  the  river  of  that  name.  He 
had  it  publicly  read,  and  then  ordered  the  officers  and  men 
to  recognize  his  right  to  command  them,  declaring  that 
Sumter  had  no  proper  authority  to  do  so. 

Here  a  serious  difficulty  arose.  At  this  period,  Sumter 
bore  the  title  and  performed  the  office  of  a  General ;  but 
he  had,  in  fact,  no  commission.  He  had  been  chosen  by 
his  own  men,  who,  forced  to  leave  their  homes,  had  banded 
together  for  their  mutual  safety,  and  the  better,  as  occasion 
should  offer,  to  strike  an  effective  blow  at  an  insolent  enemy. 


Thus  gathered  together,  acting  pretty  much  on  their  own 
vohtion,  rather  than  by  any  special  authority,  they  chose 
Sumter  their  leader,  which  they  believed  they  had  a  perfect 
right  to  do,  as  South  Carolina,  in  its  then  inchoate  con- 
dition, was  unable  to  grant  them  any  pay,  or  furnish  them 
supplies  of  any  kind.  Governor  Rutledge,  for  safety,  had 
retired  to  North  Carolina. 

But  they  had  another  reason  why  they  declined  to  recog- 
nize Williams  as  their  commander.  They  cherished'an  old 
grudge  against  him.  While  Sumter  was  organizing  his 
force,  in  the  early  summer,  on  Clem's  Branch  of  Sugar 
creek,  east  of  the  Catawba,  Williams  and  some  of  his 
neighbors  of  the  Little  river  region,  had  retired  to  the 
northward  with  such  of  their  moveable  property  as  they 
could  convey  to  a  place  of  safety  till  more  quiet  times — 
probably  to  Granville  County,  North  Carolina,  where  the 
Colonel  had  formerl}'  lived,  and  where  he  had  family 
relations  still  residing.  On  his  return,  he  repaired  to  Sum- 
ter's camp,  and  frankl}^  confessed,  as  he  had  brought  no 
men,  he  could  claim  no  command ;  but  he,  nevertheless, 
wished  to  serve  his  country  in  some  position  of  usefulness. 
Colonel  Hill,  who  knew  him,  suggested  that  General  Sum- 
ter needed  an  efficient  Commissary ;  and  upon  mentioning 
the  matter  to  the  General,  he  accordingly'  commissioned 
Williams  to  serve  in  that  capacity. 

Major  Charles  Miles,  with  twenty-five  men  and  four 
teams  and  wagons,  was  assigned  to  this  service  under 
Colonel  Williams.  So  matters  went  along  smoothly 
enough,  and  satisfactoriljr  to  all  concerned,  to  all  outward 
appearances,  till  after  the  battle  of  Hanging  Rock,  on  the 
sixth  of  August.  While  Sumter  was  encamped  on  Cane 
creek,  in  Lancaster  District,  one  morning,  about  the 
twelfth  of  that  month,  it  was  discovered  that  Williams  had 
decamped,  withovit  dropping  a  hint  to  Sumter  on  the  sub- 
ject, taking  with  him  Colonel  Brandon  and  a  small  party 
of  followers,  mostly   of  the    Fair  Forest   region,  together 


with  a  number  of  public  horses,  and  considerable  provisions 
and  camp  equipage. 

Sumter  and  his  subordinates  were  not  a  little  vexed  at 
this  treatment.  As  they  regarded  it,  Williams  had  been 
not  only  ungrateful  for  the  position  conferred  upon  him, 
but  had  betraj'ed  a  public  trust.  Colonel  Lacey,  one  of 
Sumter's  best  officers,  a  man  of  much  personal  prowess, 
was  dispatched,  with  a  small  guard,  in  pursuit  of  the 
fugitives,  with  a  view  at  least  of  recovering  the  public 
property.  He  overtook  them  encamped  on  the  west  side 
of  the  Catawba,  but  finding  Williams'  party  too  strong  to 
attempt  coercive  measures,  Lacey  resorted  to  other  means 
to  accomplish  his  purpose.  Inviting  Williams  to  take  a 
walk  with  him,  he  suddenly,  when  out  of  reach  of  the 
camp,  presented  a  pistol  at  his  breast,  threatening  him  with 
instant  death  if  he  should  make  the  least  noise,  or  call  for 
assistance.  With  his  pistol  still  aimed,  Lacey  expostu- 
lated with  him  on  the  baseness  of  his  conduct,  when  Wil- 
liams pledged  his  word  and  honor  that  he  would  take  back 
all  the  public  property,  and  as  many  of  the  men  as  he  could 
prevail  upon  to  return  with  him.  Not  confiding  in  his  word, 
Lacey  exacted  an  oath  to  the  same  purpose,  with  which 
Williams  readily  complied.  But  once  free  from  restraint, 
he  neither  regarded  the  one  nor  the  other,  but  retired  to 
Smith's  Ford,  on  Broad  river,  where  he  joined  Colonel  Mc- 
Dowell's forces,  and  participated,  immediately  thereafter, 
in  the  successful  expedition  against  the  enemy  at  Mus- 
grove's  Mill.  * 

During  the  summer,  Sumter  had  been  operating  mostly 
east  of  the  Catawba.  Williams'  home  was  considerably  to 
the  southwest  of  that  stream,  and  he  tried  to  justify  himself, 
no  doubt,  by  arguing  that  his  own  particular  region  had 
the  strongest  claim  upon  his  attention,  and  a  man  who 
would  not  provide  for  his  own  family  and  people  was  worse 

than  an  infidel.    However  this  may  be,  there  can  be  no  good 


*  The  details  of  this  affair  are  taken  from  Colonel  Wm.  Hill's  MS.  narrative. 


excuse  for  his  conduct.  He  should  have  sought  a  more 
manly  and  honorable  way  of  effecting  his  object,  as  Colonel 
Clarke  had  done  before  him.  ^ 

Sumter,  his  officers  and  men,  were  unanimous  in  resoh- 
ing  to  have  nothing  to  do  with  Williams.  They  regarded 
his  conduct  in  leaving  the  camp  as  he  did  the  preceding 
month,  as  treacherous,  and  unbecoming  an  honorable  offi- 
cer. Williams,  meeting  with  such  a  reception — and  he 
could  hardly  have  expected  any  other — was  not  slow  to 
take  his  departure.  A  council  of  the  field  officers  of  Sum- 
ter's command  was  soon  after  convened,  in  which  it  was 
judged  best  to  make  a  full  representation  to  Governor  Rut- 
ledge  of  the  condition  of  the  brigade,  and  their  reasons  for 
refusing  to  accept  Williams  as  their  commander.  Five 
prominent  officers  were  accordinglj^  selected  to  wait  upon 
the  Governor,  at  Hillsboro,  four  of  whom  were  Colonels 
Richard  Winn,  Henry  Hampton,  John  Thomas,  Jr.,  and 
Charles  S.  Myddelton  ;  Colonel  Thomas  Taylor  was  prob- 
ably the  other.  Meanwhile,  it  was  agreed  that  Sumter 
should  retire  until  a  decision  was  reached  and  the  difficulty 
settled.  Colonels  Lacey  and  Hill  to  command  the  troops 
during  the  interim.* 

Williams  seems  to  have  received  some  intimation,  while 
in  Sumter's  camp,  that  his  conduct  would  soon  be  properly 
represented  to  Governor  Rutledge ;  and  having  claimed 
more  with  regard  to  his  command  at  Musgrove's  than  the 
facts  would  warrant,  he  probably  deemed  it  best  not  to  lay 
his  new  grievances  before  the  Governor,  but  repair  at  once 
to  the  field,  and  endeavor,  by  brilliant  service,  to  cause  his 
past  derelictions  to  be  overlooked  and  forgotten. 

It  is  now  necessary  to  give  a  succinct  account  of  the 
circumstances  which  led  the  over-mountain  men  so  soon 
again  to  re-pass  the  Alleghanies,  and  appear  on  their 
eastern  border.  Though  separated  by  high  mountains 
and   broad    forests   from   their  brethren  of  the  Carolinas, 

*  Colonel  Hill's  RIS.  narrative. 


they  heartily  sympathized  with  them,  and  were  even 
ready  to  aid  them  in  their  struggles  against  the  common 
enemy.  Shelby,  the  McDowells  and  their  compeers,  it 
will  be  remembered,  while  retiring,  in  August,  before 
Ferguson's  pursuers,  from  the  Musgrove's  Mill  expedi- 
tion, resolved  that  as  soon  as  they  could  have  a  needed 
rest,  and  strengthen  their  numbers,  they  would  re-cross  the 
mountains,  and  ''beard  the  lion  in  his  den."  The  summer 
heats  and  exposures  had  retarded  their  renewal  of  the 
enterprise ;  their  crops  had  doubtless  demanded  their  at- 
tention ;  and,  above  all,  the  neighboring  Cherokees  were 
inimical  and  threatening.  And  so  they  tarried,  watching 
on  the  borders. 

But  a  circumstance  transpired  that  tended  to  arouse 
them  from  their  ease  and  sense  of  security.  When  Fer- 
guson took  post  at  Gilbert  Town,  in  the  early  part  of  Sep- 
tember, remembering  how  the  mountain  men  had  annoyed 
him  and  his  detachments  on  the  Pacolet,  at  Thicketty  Fort, 
near  WofFord's  iron  works,  and  at  Musgrove's,  he  paroled 
Samuel  Philips,  a  distant  relative  of  Colonel  Isaac  Shelby, 
whom  he  had  taken  prisoner — perhaps  one  of  the  wounded 
left  at  Wofford's  or  Musgrove's,  now  recovered — with  a 
verbal  message  to  the  officers  on  the  Western  waters  of 
Watauga,  Nolachuckjr,  and  Holston,  that  "if  they  did  not 
desist  from  their  opposition  to  the  British  arms,  he  would 
march  his  army  over  the  mountains,  hang  their  leaders, 
and  lay  their  country  waste  with  fire  and  sword."* 

This  threat  accomplished  more  than  Ferguson  bargained 
for.  Philips,  residing  near  Shelby's,  went  directly  to  him 
with  the  message,  giving  him,  in  addition,  such  intelligence 
as  he  could  impart  concerning  the  strength,  locality,  and 
intentions  of  the  enemj^.  Of  the  Loyalists  composing  the 
major  part  of  Ferguson's  command,  some  had  previously 

*Shclby'5  King's  Mountain  Narrative,  1823;  Haywood's  Hist.  Tennessee.  67;  Shelby's 
statement,  in  the  American  Whig  Review,  Dec,  1846,  580;  General  Joseph  Graham's 
account,  in  the  Southern  Literary  Messenger,  September,  1845. 


been  on  the  Western  waters,  and  were  familiar  with  the 
Watauga  settlements,  and  the  mountain  passes  by  which 
they  were  reached.  One  of  them  had  been  subjected,  the 
past  summer,  to  the  indignity  of  a  coat  of  tar  and  feathers, 
by  the  light-horsemen  of  Captain  Robert  Sevier,  on 
Nolachucky ;  and,  in  resentment,  proposed  to  act  as 
pilot  to  Ferguson.* 

In  a  few  da^'s,  Shelby  went  some  forty  miles  to  a  horse- 
race, near  the  present  village  of  Jonesboro,  to  see  Colonel 
Sevier,  the  efficient  commander  of  the  militia  of  Washing- 
ton Count}',  embracing  the  Watauga  and  Nolachucky  settle- 
ments, to  inform  him  of  Ferguson's  threatening  message, 
and  concert  measures  for  their  mutual  action.  The  result 
was  that  these  brave  leaders  resolved  to  cany  into  effect  the 
plan  Shelby  and  associates  had  formed  the  previous  month, 
when  east  of  the  mountains — to  raise  all  the  men  they 
could,  and  attempt,  with  proper  assistance,  to  surprise 
Ferguson  by  attacking  him  in  his  camp  ;  or,  at  any  rate, 
before  he  should  be  prepared  to  meet  them.  If  this  was 
not  practicable,  they  would  unite  with  any  corps  of  patriots 
they  might  meet,  and  wage  war  against  the  enemies  of 
their  country ;  and  should  they  fail,  and  the  country 
eventually  be  over-run  and  subdued  by  the  .British,  they 
could  take  water,  float  down  the  Holston,  Tennessee,  Ohio, 
and  Mississippi,  and  find  a  home  among  the  Spaniards  in 
Louisiana.  It  was  known  to  them,  that  Colonel  Charles 
McDowell  and  Colonel  Andrew  Hampton  with  about  one 
hundred  and  sixty  men,  had  retired  before  Ferguson's  forces 
from  Cane  creek  and  Upper  Catawba,  arriving  at  Colonel 
John  Carter's  on  the  eighteenth  of  September,  and 
were  now  refugees  mostly  encamped  on  the  Watauga. f 
Some  of  McDowell's  officers  were  seen  and  consulted  by 
Shelby  and  Sevier  before  they  parted.  Colonel  Sevier 
engaged  to  see  others  of  them,  and  bring  them  all  into  the 

*  Ramsey's   Tennessee^  223, 

f  MS.  letter  Colonel  Joseph  Martin,  Long  Island  of  Holston,  Sept.  22,  1780. 


measure  ;  while  Shelby,  on  his  part,  undertook  to  procure 
the  aid  and  co-operation  of  Colonel  William  Campbell, 
of  the  neighboring  County  of  Washington,  in  Virginia,  with 
a  force  from  that  region,  if  practicable.  A  time  and  place 
for  the  general  rendezvous  were  appointed — the  twent}^- 
lifth  of  September,  at  the  Sycamore  Flats  or  Shoals,  on 
the  Watauga. 

Colonel  Shelby  had  necessarily  much  to  do  in  getting 
his  own  regiment  of  Sullivan  County  men  in  readiness 
for  the  expedition.  He  wrote  to  Colonel  Campbell,  who 
resided  forty  miles  distant,  explaining  the  nature  of  the 
proposed  service,  and  urging  him  to  join  in  it  with  all  the 
men  he  could  raise  for  that  purpose.  The  letter  was  sent 
by  the  Colonel's  brother,  Captain  Moses  Shelby.  It  was 
the  plan  of  Lord  Cornwallis  to  lead  his  army  from  Char- 
lotte to  Salisbury,  there  to  form  a  junction  with  Ferguson's 
corp'S  ;  and,  preliminary  to  the  further  invasion  of  North 
Carolina  and  Virginia,  to  incite  the  Southern  Indians  not 
only  to  invade  the  Holston  and  Watauga  settlements,  but 
proceed,  if  possible,  as  high  up  in  South-West  Virginia  as 
Chiswell's  Lead  Mines,  and  destroy  the  works  and  stores 
at  that  place,  where  large  quantities  of  lead  were  pro- 
duced for  the  supply  of  the  American  armies.  And  as  the 
destruction  of  the  Mines  and  their  product  was  a  capital 
object  with  the  British,  the  Tories  high  up  New  river,  and 
in  the  region  of  the  Lead  Mines,  had  also  been  encouraged 
to  make  an  attempt  in  that  direction.  Colonel  Campbell 
had  been  diligently  engaged,  for  several  weeks,  with  a 
part  of  his  regiment,  in  suppressing  this  Tory  insurrection, 
and  had  just  returned  from  that  service  when  Colonel 
Shelby's  letter  arrived. 

Campbell  replied,  that  he  had  determined  to  raise  what 
men  he  could,  and  march  down  by  the  Flour  Gap,  on  the 
southern  borders  of  Virginia,  to  be  in  readiness  to  oppose 
Lord  Cornwallis  when  he  should  advance  from  Chai'lotte, 
and   approach  that  State;    that  he  still  thought  this   the 


better  policy,  and  declined  uniting  with  Sevier  and 
Shelby  on  the  proposed  expedition.  Colonel  Shelby 
promptly  notified  Colonel  Sevier  of  Campbell's  determin- 
ation, and  at  the  same  time  issued  an  order  for  all  the 
militia  of  Sullivan  County  to  hold  themselves  in  readi- 
ness to  march  at  the  time  appointed.  As  the  Cherokee 
towns  were  not  to  exceed  eighty  to  one  hundred  miles  from 
the  frontiers  of  Sullivan,  and  much  less  from  the  Watauga 
settlements  ;  and  as  it  was  known  that  the  Cherokees  were 
preparing  to  make  a  formidable  attack  on  the  border  people, 
in  the  course  of  a  few  weeks.  Colonel  Shelby  felt  an 
unwillingness  to  draw  off,  for  a  distant  service,  all  the  dis- 
posable force  of  the  counties  of  Sullivan  and  Washington 
at  so  critical  a  period,  and  leave  hundreds  of  helpless 
families  exposed  to  the  tomahawk  and  scalping-knife. 

He,  therefore,  immediately  wrote  a  second  letter  to 
Colonel  Campbell  hy  the  same  messenger,  urging  his 
views  more  fully,  and  stating  that  without  his  aid,  he 
and  Sevier  could  not  leave  sufficient  force  to  protect  their 
frontiers,  and  at  the  same  time  lead  forth  a  party  strong 
enough  to  cope  with  Ferguson.  About  the  same  time 
he  wrote  also  to  Colonel  Arthur  Campbell,  the  cousin  and 
brother-in-law  of  Colonel  William  Campbell,  and  who  was 
the  County  Lieutenant  or  superior  military  officer  of  the 
County,  informing  him  of  Ferguson's  progress  and  threats, 
and  telling  the  touching  story  of  McDowell's  party,  driven 
from  their  homes  and  families  ;  and  appealing  to  the  County 
Lieutenant,  whether  it  would  not  be  possible  to  make  an 
effort  to  escort  and  protect  the  exiles  on  their  return  to  their 
homes  and  kindred,  and  drive  Ferguson  from  the  country. 
Colonel  Arthur  Campbell  had  just  returned  from  Rich- 
mond, where  he  had  an  interview  with  Governor  Jefferson, 
and  learned  that  vigorous  efforts  were  being  made  to  re- 
trieve the  late  misfortunes  near  Camden,  and  repel  the 
advances  of  the  enemy  now  flushed  with  victory. 

Both  Colonels  Arthur  and  William  Campbell,  on  full 


reflection,  regarded  the  proposed  expedition  with  favor,  and 
sent  back  word  tliat  they  would  co-operate  with  Colonels 
Shelby  and  Sevier  to  aid  their  friends  to  return  to  their 
homes  beyond  the  mountains,  and  punish  their  Tory  oppress- 
ors ;  Colonel  Arthur  Campbell  informing  Shelby,  through 
the  messenger,  Mr.  Adair,  of  the  Governor's  sentiment, 
and  the  efforts  that  would  soon  be  made  by  Congress  to 
check  the  progress  of  the  enemy.  "  The  tale  of  McDowell's 
men,''  says  Colonel  Arthur  Campbell,  "was  a  doleful  one, 
and  tended  to  excite  the  resentment  of  the  people,  who  of 
late  had  become  inured  to  danger  by  fighting  the  Indians, 
and  who  had  an  utter  detestation  of  the  tyranny  of  the  Brit- 
ish Government."* 

At  a  consultation  of  the  field  officers  of  Washington 
County,  it  was  agreed  to  call  out  one-half  of  the  militia, 
under  Colonel  William  Campbell,  for  this  over-mountain 
service.  That  day,  the  twenty-second  of  September,  the 
order  was  made  for  the  men,  who  seemed  animated  with  a 
spirit  of  patriotism,  and  speedily  prepared  for  the  expedi- 
tion. An  express  was,  at  the  same  time,  sent  to  Colonel 
Cleveland,  of  Wilkes  County,  North  Carolina,  to  apprise 
him  of  the  designs  and  movements  of  the  men  on  the 
Western  waters,  and  request  him  to  meet  them,  with  all  the 
troops  he  could  raise,  at  an  appointed  place  on  the  east  side 
of  the  mountains.  The  express  doubtless  took  the  shortest 
route,  crossing  New  river  not  far  from  the  Virginia  and 
North  Carolina  line,  and  thence  to  Wilkes  County ;  and 
probably  the  thirtieth  of  September,  and  the  Quaker 
Meadows,  were  the  time  and  place  of  meeting.  Colonel 
Campbell  went  to  the  place  of  rendezvous  by  way  of 
Colonel  Shelby's,  while  his  men,  who  had  assembled  at  the 
first  creek  below  Abingdon,  marched  down  a  nearer  way 
— by  the  Watauga  road. 

The  whole  country  was  animated  by  the  same  glowing 
spirit,  to  do  something  to  put  down  Ferguson  and  his  Tor}'- 
gang,  who  threatened  their  leaders  with  the  halter,  and 

*MS.  statement  of  Colonel  Arthur  Campbell. 


their  homes  with  the  torch.  "  Here,"  exclaimed  the  young 
second  wife  of  Colonel  Sevier,  pointing  to  a  youth  of  nearly 
sixteen,  "Here,  Mr.  Sevier,  is  another  of  your  boys  who 
wants  to  go  with  his  father  and  brother  Joseph  to  the  war ; 
but  we  have  no  horse  for  him,  and,  poor  fellow,  it  is  too 
great  a  distance  for  him  to  walk."  Horses,  indeed,  were 
scarce,  the  Indians  having  stolen  many  of  them  from  the 
settlers,  but  young  James  Sevier,  with  or  without  a  horse, 
went  on  the  expedition. 

Colonel  Sevier  endeavored  to  borrow  money  on  his 
private  responsibility,  to  fit  out  his  men  for  this  distant 
service — for  there  were  a  few  traders  in  the  countrj-  who 
had  small  supplies  of  goods.  What  little  money  the  people 
had  saved,  had  been  expended  to  the  last  dollar  to  the 
Entr)'  Taker  of  Sullivan  County,  John  Adair,  the  State 
officer,  for  the  sate  of  the  North  Carolina  lands — the  same 
person,  doubtless,  whom  Colonel  Shelby  had  sent  as  his 
express  to  Colonel  Arthur  Campbell.  Sevier  waited  upon 
him,  and  suggested  that  the  public  money  in  his  possession 
be  advanced  to  meet  the  military  exigencies  at  this  critical 
juncture.  His  reply  was  worthy  of  the.  man  and  the  times  : 
"Colonel  Sevier,"  said  he,  "  I  have  no  authority  by  law  to 
make  that  disposition  of  this  money;  it  belongs  to  the 
impoverished  treasury  of  North  Carolina,  and  I  dare  not 
appropriate  a  cent  of  it  to  any  purpose  ;  but,  if  the  country  is 
over-run  b}^  the  British,  our  liberty  is  gone.  Let  the  money 
go,  too.  Take  it.  If  the  enemy,  by  its  use,  is  driven  from 
the  country,  I  can  trust  that  country  to  justify  and  vindicate 
my  conduct — so  take  it."*  Thus  between  twelve  and  thirteen 
thousand  dollars  were  obtained,  ammunition  and  necessary 
equipments  secured.  Colonels  Sevier  and  Shelby  pledging 
themselves  to  see  the  loan  refunded  or  legalized  by  an  act 
of  the  Legislature,  which  they  effected  at  the  earliest  prac- 
ticable moment. f 

*This  sturdy  patriot  subsequently  settled  in  Knox  County,  Tennessee,  where  he  died 
in  April.  1827,  at  the  age  of  ninety-five  years. 
fRamsey's  Teftnessee,  226, 


5®\y;  j(a)[Hiw  si£^jaiE'>s. 


On  Monday,  the  twenty-fifth  of  September,  at  the  place 
of  rendezvous,  at  the  Sycamore  Flats  or  Shoals,  at  the  foot 
of  the  Yellow  Mountain,  on  the  Watauga,  about  three  miles 
below  the  present  village  of  Elizabethtown,  Colonel  Camp- 
bell's two  hundred  men  assembled,  together  with  Colonel 
Shelby's  and  Lieutenant-Colonel  Sevier's  regiments  of  two 
hundred  and  forty  men  each.  There  McDowell's  party  had 
been  for  some  time  in  camp  ;  but  Colonel  McDowell  him- 
self, as  soon  as  the  expedition  had  been  resolved  on,  hurried 
with  the  glad  news  over  the  mountains,  to  encourage  the 
people,  obtain  intelligence  of  Ferguson's  movements,  and 
hasten  the  march  of  Colonel  Cleveland  and  the  gallant  men 
of  Wilkes  and  Surry.  While  yet  in  camp,  all  hearts  were 
gladdened  by  the  unexpected  arrival  of  Colonel  Arthur 
Campbell,  with  two  hundred  more  men  from  his  County, 
fearing  the  assembled  force  might  not  be  sufficient  for  the 
important  service  they  had  undertaken ;  and  uniting  these 
new  recruits  with  the  others,  this  patriotic  officer  immedi- 
ately returned  home  to  anxiously  watch  the  frontiers  of 
Holston,  now  so  largely  stripped  of  their  natural  defenders.* 

Mostly  armed  with  the  Deckardf  rifle,  in  the  use  of 
which  they  were  expert  alike  against  Indians  and  beasts  of 
the  forest,  they  regarded  themselves  the  equals  of  Ferguson 
and  his  practiced  riflemen  and  musketeers.  They  were 
little  encumbered  with  baggage  —  each  with  a  blanket,  a 
cup  by  his  side,  with  which  to  quench  his  thirst  from  the 
mountain  streams,  and  a  wallet  of  provisions,  the  latter 
principally  of  parched  corn  meal,  mixed,  as  it  generally 
was,  with  maple  sugar,  making  a  very  agreeable  repast, 
and  withal  full  of  nourishment.  An  occasional  skillet  was 
taken  along  for  a  mess,  in  which  to  warm  up  in  water  their 
parched  meal,  and  cook  such  wild  or  other  meat  as  fortune 

-MS.  statement  of  the  King's  Mountain  Expedition,  by  one  of  Campbell's  men — the 
writer  not  known— sent  me  by  the  late   Governor  David  Campbell,  of  Abingdon,  Virginia. 

•j- A  century  ago  the  Deckard  or  Dickert  rifle  was  largely  manufactured  at  Lancaster, 
Pennsylvania,  by  a  person  of  that  name.  It  was,  for  that  period,  a  gun  of  remarkable  pre- 
cision for  a  long  shot,  spiral  grooved,  with  a  barrel  some  thirty  inches  long,  and  with  its 
stock  some  three  and  a  half  or  four  feet,  carrying  bullets  varying  from  thirty  to  seventy 
to  the  pound  of  lead.     The  owner  of  a  Deckard  rifle  at  that  day  rejoiced  in  its  possession. 


should  throw  in  their  way.  The  horses,  of  course,  had  to 
pick  their  living,  and  were  hoppled  out,  of  nights,  to  keep 
them  from  straying  away.  A  few  beeves  were  driven  along 
the  rear  for  subsistence,  but  impeding  the  rapidity  of  the 
march,  they  were  abandoned  after  the  first  day's  journey. 

Early  on  the  twenty-sixth  of  September,  the  little  army 
was  ready  to  take  up  its  line  of  march  over  mountains  and 
through  forests,  and  the  Rev.  Samuel  Doak,  the  pioneer 
clergyman  of  the  Watauga  settlements,  being  present,  in- 
voked, before  their  departure,  the  Divine  protection  and 
guidance,  accompanied  with  a  few  stirring  remarks  befitting 
the  occasion,  closing  with  the  Bible  quotation,  "The  sword 
of  the  Lord  and  of  Gideon ;"  when  the  sturdy,  Scotch- 
Irish  Presbyterians  around  him,  clothed  in  their  tidy  hunting- 
shirts,  and  leaning  upon  their  rifles  in  an  attitude  of  respect- 
ful attention,  shouted  in  patriotic  acclaim:  "The  sword 
of  the  Lord  and  of  our  Gideons  ! "  * 

Then  mounting  their  horses,  for  the  most  of  them  were 
provided  with  hardy  animals,  they  commenced  their  long 
anti  difficult  march.  They  would  appear  to  have  had  some 
trouble  in  getting  their  beeves  started,  and  probably  tarried 
for  their  mid-day  lunch,  at  Matthew  Talbot's  Mill,  now 
known  as  Clark's  Mill,  on  Gap  creek,  only  three  miles 
from  the  Sycamore  Shoals.  Thence  up  Gap  creek  to  its 
head,  when  they  bore  somewhat  to  the  left,  crossing  Little 
Doe  river,  reaching  the  noted  "Resting  Place,"  at  the 
Shelving  Rock,  about  a  mile  beyond  the  Crab  Orchard, 
where,  after  a  march  of  some  twenty  miles  that  day,  they 
took  up  their  camp  for  the  night.  Big  Doe  river,  a  bold 
and  limpid  mountain  stream,  flowing  hard  by,  afforded  the 
campers,  their  horses  and  beef  cattle,  abundance  of  pure 
and  refreshing  water. f  Here,  a  man  of  the  name  Miller 
resided,  who  shod  several  of  the  horses  of  the  party. 

*"This,"  writes  the  venerable  historian,  Dr.  J.  G.  M.  Ramsey,  "is  the  tradition  of 
the  country,  and  I  fully  believe  it."— MS.  letter.  June  21st,  1880 

•fit  is  not  altogether  certain  that  the  over-mountain  men  camped  here  the  first  night; 
but  such  is  the  tradition,  and  such  the  probabilities.  If  they  did  not,  then  they  went  on 
beyond  the  mountain  summit,  accomplishing  some  twenty-eight  miles,  which,  with  the 
trouble  of  driving  cattle,  would  seem  quite  improbable.      It   is   only  by  concluding   that 


The  next  morning,  Wednesday,  the  twentj'-seventh, 
probably  weary  of  driving  the  cattle,  some  of  which  had 
stampeded,  they  killed  such  as  were  necessary  for  a  tempo- 
rary supply  of  meat,  thus  considerably  delaying  the  march 
that  day.  Relieved  of  this  encumbrance,  they  pressed  for- 
ward some  four  miles,  when  they  reached  the  base  of 
the  Yellow  and  Roan  Mountains.  "The  next  day" 
—  evidently  after  leaving  the  Sycamore  Shoals, — says 
Ensign  Robert  Campbell's  diary,  "we  ascended  the  moun- 
tain;" which  they  did,  following  the  well-known  Brighfs 
Trace,  through  a  gap  between  the  Yellow  Mountain  on  the 
north,  and  Roan  Mountain  on  the  south.  The  ascent  was 
not  very  difficult  along  a  common  foot-path.  As  they 
receded  from  the  lovely  and  verdant  Crab  Orchard  vallej^, 
"they  found,'' says  Campbell's  diary,  "the  sides  and  top 
of  the  mountain  covered  with  snow,  shoe-mouth  deep ;  and 
on  the  summit,"  adds  the  same  diarist,  "there  were  about 
a  hundred  acres  of  beautiful  table-land,  in  which  a  spring 
issued,  ran  through  it,  and  over  into  the  Watauga."  Here 
the  volunteers  paraded,  under  their  respective  commanders, 
and  were  ordered  to  discharge  their  rifles ;  and  such  was 
the  rarity  of  the  atmosphere,  that  there  was  little  or  no 
report.*  This  body  of  table-land  on  the  summit  of  the 
mountain  has  long  been  known  as  "  The  Bald  Place, ^''  or, 
"  The  Bald  of  the  Tellowr 

An  incident  transpired  while  the  troops  were  at  "  the 
Bald"  that  exerted  no  small  influence  on  the  campaign. 
Two  of  Sevier's  men,  James  Crawford  and  Samuel  Cham- 
bers, here  deserted ;  and  when  they  were  missed,  and  their 
object  suspected — that  of  apprising  Ferguson  of  the  ap- 
proach of  the  mountain   men — instead   of  bearing   to   the 

they  camped  at  the  celebrated  "Resting  Place,''  on  the  night  of  the  twenty-sixth,  that 
we  can  reconcile  Campbell's  diary  and  the  traditions  of  the  oldest  and  best  informed 
people  along  the  route,  as  to  the  other  camping  places  till  they  reached  the  Catawba,  on 
the  night  of  the  thirtieth,  as  stated  by  Campbell,  Shelby,  and  Cleveland,  in  the  official 
report  of  the  expedition,  and  by  Shelby  in  his  several  narratives. 

*MS.  letter  of  Dr.  J.  G.  M,  Ramsey,  July  12,  1880.     "This  fact,"  adds  the  Doctor, 
"was  related  to  me  by  several  of  the  old  King's  Mountain  soldiers." 


right,  as  they  had  designed,  the  troops  took  the  left  hand, 
or  more  northerly  route,  hoping  thereby  to  confuse  the 
enemy  should  they  send  spies  on  the  southern  trail,  and 
make  no  discoveries.* 

After  the  parade  and  refreshments, f  the  day  was  well-nigh 
spent,  and  the  mountaineers  passed  on  a  couple  of  miles  de- 
scending the  eastern  slope  of  the  mountains  into  Elk  Hollow 
— a  slight  depression  between  the  Yellow  and  Roan  moun- 
tains, rather  than  a  gap  ;  and  here,  at  a  fine  spring  flowing 
into  Roaring  creek,  they  took  up  their  camp  for  the  night.]; 

Descending  Roaring  creek,  on  the  twenty-eighth,  four 
miles,  they  reached  its  confluence  with  the  North  Toe 
river,  and  a  mile  below  they  passed  Bright's  place,  now 
Avery's  ;  and  thence  down  the  Toe  to  the  noted  spring 
on  the  Davenport  place,  since  Tate's,  and  now  known  as 
Child's  place,  a  little  distance  west  of  the  stream,  where 
they  probably  rested  at  noonday.  Some  thirty  years  ago 
an  old  sword  was  found  near  this  spring,  supposed  to  have 
been  lost  by  some  of  the  mountaineers. §  As  they  de- 
scended from  the  mountains,  they  reached  a  country 
covered  with  verdure,  where  they  enjoyed  an  atmosphere 
of  almost  summer  mildness.  They  followed  the  ravines 
along  the  streams  the  most  of  the  way,  but  over  a  very 
rough,  stony  route — exceedingly  difficult,  and  not  unfre- 
quently  dangerous,  for  horses  to  pursue. 

The  mountain  scenery  along  thtir  route  is  scarcel}'  ex- 
ceeded for  wildness  and  romantic  grandeur,  in  any  other 
part  of  the  country — several  of  the  towering  peaks,  among 
the  loftiest  in  the  United  States,  exceeding  six  thousand 

*  Haywood's  Tennessee,  on  authority  of  Colonel  Shelby,  says  this  desertion  occurred 
on  "the  top"  of  the  mountain  :  and  Robert  Campbell,  in  his  King's  Mountain  Narratives, 
states  that  the  deserters  "left  the  army  on  the  Yellow  mountain;"  and  Dr.  Ramsey 
practically  confirms  these  statements  by  asserting  that  it  transpired  on  the  second  day. 

t  Captain  Christopher  Taylor,  of  Sevier's  regiment,  states,  in  his  pension  deposition, 
that  in  a  conference  of  the  officers,  held  on  Yellow  Mountain,  Colonel  Campbell  was  ap- 
pointed to  the  chief  command.  No  other  account  confirms  this  statement,  and  Captain 
Taylor  must  have  had  in  mind  the  subsequent  action  to  that  effect, 

J  Campbell's  diary;  1\[S.  correspondence  of  the  late  ex-Governor  David  Campbell, 
and  of  Hon.  Wm.  B.   Carter, 

I  MS.  letter  of  'W.  A.  McCall,  Aug.  is,  1880. 


five  hundred  feet  in  height.  The  bright,  rushing  waters 
tumbling  over  their  rocky  beds,  and  the  lofty  blue  moun- 
tains in  the  distance,  present  a  weird,  dreamy,  bewildering 
appearance.  "  Here,"  says  a  graphic  writer  on  the  mountain 
region  of  North  Carolina,  "  if  we  were  to  meet  an  army 
with  music  and  banners,  we  would  hardly  notice  it;  man, 
and  all  his  works,  and  all  his  devices,  are  sinking  into 
insignificance.  We  feel  that  we  are  approaching  nearer 
and  nearer  to  the  Almighty  Architect.  We  feel  in  all 
things  about  us  the  presence  of  the  great  Creator.  A  sense 
of  awe  and  reverence  comes  over  us,  and  we  expect  to  find 
in  this  stupendous  temple  we  are  approaching,  none  but 
men  of  pure  hearts  and  benignant  minds.  But,  by  degrees, 
as  we  clamber  up  the  winding  hill,  the  sensation  of  awe 
gives  way — new  scenes  of  beauty  and  grandeur  open  upon 
our  ravished  vision  —  and  a  multitude  of  emotions  swell 
within  our  hearts.  We  are  dazzled,  bewildered,  and  ex- 
cited, we  know  not  how,  nor  why ;  our  souls  expand  and 
swim  through  the  immensity  before  and  around  us,  and  our 
being  seems  merged  in  the  infinite  and  glorious  works  of 
God.  This  is  the  country  of  the  fairies ;  and  here  they 
have  their  shaded  dells,  their  mock  mountains,  and  their 
green  valleys,  thrown  into  ten  thousand  shapes  of  beauty. 
.  But  higher  up  are  the  Titan  hills  ;  and  when  we  get  among 
them,  we  will  find  the  difference  between  the  abodes  of  the 
giants    and   their   elfin   neighbors." 

After  a  hard  day's  march  for  man  and  beast,  they  at 
length  reached  Cathey's,  or  Cathoo's,  plantation  —  since 
Cathey's  mill,  at  the  mouth  of  Grassy  creek,  a  small 
eastern  tributary  of  North  Toe  river ;  and  here  they  rested 
for  the  night. f  Some  twenty  miles  were  accomplished  this 
day.     Their  parched  corn  meal,   and,  peradventure,  some 

':*  C.  H.  Wiley's  North  Carolina  Reader,  68,  77. 

tCarapbcirs  diary.  The  MS.  correspondence  of  Thomas  D.  Vance.  W.  A.  McCall, 
Hon.  Wm.  B.  Carter,  W  H.  Allis,  G.  W.  Crawford,  Dr.  J.  C.  Newland,  Hon.  J.  C.  Har- 
per, Colonel  Samuel  McDowell  Tate,  Hon.  C.  A.  Cilley,  Mrs.  Mary  A.  Chambers,  Dr.  J. 
G.  M.  Ramsey,  and  Major  T.  S.  Webb,  has  been  of  essential  importance  in  helping  to  de- 
termine and  describe  the  route  and  its  localities  of  the  King's  Mountain  men. 


remaining  beef  rations,  formed  a  refreshing  repast,  with 
appetites  sharpened  by  the  rough  exercise  of  so  tedious 
a  jaunt  over  hills  and  dales,  and  rocks,  and  mountain 

On  Friday,  the  twenty- ninth,  the  patriot  army  pursued 
its  winding  wa)^  up  the  valley  of  Grassy  creek  to  its 
head,  some  eight  or  nine  miles,  when  they  passed  through 
Gillespie's  Gap  in  the  Blue  Ridge ;  emerging  from  which 
they  joyfully  beheld,  here  and  there,  in  the  distance,  in 
the  mountain  coves  and  rich  valleys  of  the  heads  of  the 
Upper  Catawba,  the  advanced  settlements  of  the  adven- 
turous pioneers.  Here  the  troops  divided — Campbell's  men, 
at  least,  going  six  or  seven  miles  south  to  Henry  Gillespie's, 
and  a  little  below  to  Colonel  William  WofTord's  Fort,  both 
in  Turkey  Cove  :  while  the  others  pursued  the  old  trace  in 
an  easterly  direction,  about  the  same  distance,  to  the  North 
Cove,  on  the  North  Fork  of  the  Catawba,  where  they 
camped  for  the  night  in  the  woods,  on  the  bank  of  that 
stream,  just  above  the  mouth  of  Hunnj^cut's  creek.  On  a 
large  beech  tree,  at  this  camp,  several  of  the  officers  cut 
their  names,*  among  them  Colonel  Charles  McDowell ; 
who  had,  by  arrangement,  several  days  preceded  the  troops 
from  the  camp  of  the  Burke  and  Rutherford  fugitives  on  the 

At  this  point  Colonel  McDowell  rejoined  his  over- 
mountain  friends,  imparting  to  them  such  vague  and  un- 
certain intelligence  as  he  had  been  able  to  learn  of  Fergu- 
son and  his  movements.  Colonel  McDowell  had  repaired 
to  his  Quaker  Meadow  home,  and  exerted  himself,  by 
sending  messengers  in  every  direction,  to  rouse  the  people  ; 
he  had  despatched  James  Blair,  as  an  express,  to  hasten 
forward  Colonel  Cleveland  with  the  men  of  Wilkes  and 
Surry.  Blair  reached  Fort  Defiance,  a  distance  of  some 
thirt}-  miles,  where  he  probably  met  Cleveland  and  his  men 

*This  venerable  tree,  about  1835,  was  accidentally  charred  by  burning  logs,  in  clear- 
ing land,  causing  it  to  die.  W.  A.  McCall,  who  still  resides  there,  saw  the  tree  and  read 
the  names  many  times. 


advancing ;  but  he  did  not  accomplish  his  mission  without 
imperiUing  his  life,  for  he  was  wounded  by  a  stealthy  Tory 
by  the  way.* 

Colonel  Campbell's  party  visited  the  Turkey  Cove  settle- 
ment, though  some  miles  out  of  the  way,  with  a  view  to 
gaining  intelligence.  Henry  Gillespie,  near  whose  cabin 
some  of  the  troops  camped,  a  hardy  Irishman,  who  had 
perhaps  been  a  dozen  years  in  the  country,  and  from 
whom  the  neighboring  Gap  took  its  name,  was  acting  a 
neutral  part  in  the  war — probably,  from  his  exposed  situa- 
tion, as  his  only  recourse  to  save  himself  and  family  from 
destruction  by  the  Indians,  instigated,  as  thej'  were,  by 
British  emissaries  stationed  among  them.  Gillespie  was 
kept  at  camp  during  the  night ;  but  he  really  had  no  secrets 
to  reveal  and  was  set  at  liberty  the  following  morning. f 

Ensign  Campbell's  diary  states  :  "The  fourth  night,  the 
twenty-ninth,  we  rested  at  a  rich  Tory's,  A^'here  we  obtained 
an  abundance  of  every  necessary  refreshment."  This  evi- 
dently refers  to  Colonel  Wofford,  for  he  was  wealthy,  and 
well-to-do  for  that  day ;  while  his  near  neighbor,  Gillespie, 
was  poor,  and  his  little  cabin  and  small  surrounding  im- 
provements, were  sufficient  evidence  of  it.  But  this  is  a 
cruel  and  unjust  imputation  upon  the  memory  of  so  worthy 
a  man  as  William  Wofford.  Descended  from  ancestry  from 
the  north  of  England,  he  was  born  near  Rock  creek,  in 
then  Prince  George,  now  Montgomery  County,  Maryland, 
about  twelve  miles  above  Washington  City,  on  the  twenty- 
fifth  of  October,  1728.  Of  his  early  life,  we  have  no 
knowledge  ;  but  he  most  likely  served  among  the  Mary- 
land troops  in  the  French  and  Indian  war  raging  on  the 
frontiers  of  that  and  the  neighboring  Colonies  in  his 
younger  days. 

Colonel  Wofford  was   a  man  of  enterprise,   early  mi- 

*  Blair's  MS.  pension  statement. 

f  Henry  Gillespie  died  at  the  Turkey  Cove,  about  1S12,  at  the  age  of  well-nigh  eighty 
years,  leaving  two  sons,  David  and  William. 


grating  to  the  upper  country  of  South  Carolina,  where,  on 
Pacolet  river,  he  erected  noted  iron  works.  He  was  one 
of  the  leading  patriots  of  that  region,  and  served  as  Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel on  Williamson's  Cherokee  campaign  of 
1776.*  Early  in  1779,  he  was  in  service  in  pursuit  of  the 
fugitive  Tory  party  under  Colonel  John  Moore,  when  flee- 
ing from  North  Carolina  to  Georgia ;  and,  in  the  spring 
and  summer  of  that  year,  he  served  in  Georgia  and  South 
Carolina,  under  General  Lincoln,!  and  doubtless  shared  in 
the  battle  of  Stono. 

It  was  probably  on  the  fall  of  Charleston,  when  his 
iron  works  were  destroyed,  that  he,  to  avoid  the  British 
and  Tories  who  were  over-running  South  Carolina,  retired 
to  the  Upper  Catawba,  purchasing  a  fine  tract  of  nine 
hundred  acres,  with  improvements,  of  one  Armstrong,  an 
enterprising  pioneer  in  the  Turkey  Cove.  At  his  new 
home,  he  erected  a  fort  for  his  own  and  neighbors'  pro- 
tection against  the  Indians,  and  built  a  small  grist-mill.  It 
is  barely  possible  that  Colonel  Wofford  may  have  been 
prevailed  upon  by  the  frontier  settlers  of  Burke  county,  to 
unite  with  Captain  John  Carson  and  others,  to  take  pro- 
tection from  Colonel  Ferguson  when  he  invaded  the 
Upper  Catawba  valley,  merely  as  a  temporary  ruse  to  pre- 
serve their  stock  and  other  property  from  those  rapacious 
plunderers.  But  of  this,  there  is  no  evidence,  save  tlie 
vague  allusion  of  Ensign  Campbell.  At  all  events.  Colonel 
Wofford  was  no  Torjr,  and  never  lifted  a  finger  against  his 
country.  It  is  quite  evident,  that  Colonel  Campbell  gained 
no  important  intelligence  from  either  Colonel  Wofford  or 
Henry  Gillespie,  simpl}^  because  they  were  not  the  men  to 
hiu'e  confided  to  them  the  secrets  of  the  Loyalists,  and  con- 
sequently had  nothing  to  impart.;]; 

^Dr.  John  Whelchel's  MS.  pension  statement. 

fCapt.  Matthew  Patton's  MS.  pension  statement. 

t  Colonel  Wofford  subsequently  gave  much  attention  to  the  surveying  of  lands  ;  and, 
several  years  after  the  war,  removed  to  what  is  now  Habersham  county,  Georgia,  where  he 
became  an  influential  citizen,  and  died  near  Toccoa  Falls,  about  1823,  at  the  age  of  about 


The  respective  divisions — the  one  at  the  Turkey  Cove, 
and  the  other  at  the  North  Cove— had  marched  some  fifteen 
miles  this  day.  Colonel  Charles  McDowell  must  have  been 
able  to  inform  the  troops,  whom  he  happily  met  at  the 
North  Cove,  that  Ferguson  was  yet  at  and  near  Gilbert 
Town;  that  Cleveland  and  Winston,  at  the  head  of  the 
Wilkes  and  Surry  men,  were  approaching  in  strong  force ; 
and  that  the  South  Carolina  parties  under  Lacey  and 
Hill,  and  Williams'  separate  corps,  were  at  no  great  dis- 
tance. That  Ferguson  was  still  reposing  in  fancied  se- 
curity vdthin  striking  distance,  and  that  strong  Whig  re- 
inforcements were  at  hand,  were  matters  of  good  omen ; 
and  tended,  in  no  small  degree,  to  encourage  and  inspirit 
the  patriots  in  their  combined  efforts  and  self-denials  to 
rid  their  suffering  country  of  a  powerful,  invading  foe. 

On  Saturday  morning,  the  thirtieth  of  the  month, 
the  troops  at  the  North  Cove  took  up  their  line  of  march, 
passing  over  Silver  and  Linville  mountains,  then  along  a 
dividing  ridge,  and  down  Paddie's  creek  to  the  Catawba. 
They  probably  rested  at  mid-day,  delaying  a  while  for  the 
detachment  from  Turkey  Cove,  who  had  several  miles 
farther  to  march  in  order  to  overtake  them.  When  re- 
united, and  refreshed,  they  pushed  on,  as  the  old  trail  then 
ran,  from  the  mouth  of  Paddie's  creek,  down  the  north- 
west bank  of  the  Catawba,  crossing  the  mouth  of  Linville 
river,*  and  thence  to  the  Quaker  Meadows,  the  noted  home 

ninety-five  years,  being  able  to  read  and  write  without  spectacles  to  the  last.  General 
VVm    T.  Wofford.  of  Bartow  county,  Georgia,  is  his  great  grandson. 

A  daughter  of  Colonel  Wofford's  was,  in  after  years,  married  to  David  Gillespie,  the  old- 
est son  of  Henry  Gillespie.  David  Gillespie  was  a  youth  of  some  fourteen  years  when  the 
over-mountain  men  marched  to  King's  Mountain.  All  through  life  he  was  very  observant, 
and  possessed  a  most  retentive  memory  ;  and  from  him  these  facts  were  derived  about  a 
portion  of  the  mountaineers  going  to  Turkey  Cove,  and  the  others  to  the  North  Cove,  and 
.tbout  the  detention  of  his  father  in  camp  over  night.  We  are  indebted  to  Wm.  A. 
McCall.  of  North  Cove,  for  these  traditions,  which  he  had  from  his  grandfather,  David 
Gillespie,  and  to  some  extent,  corroborated  by  Arthur  McFall.  an  old  hunter  of  the  Revo- 
lutionary period,  who  frequently  made  his  home  with  Gillespie,  At  the  venerable  age 
of  about  ninety-two,  David   Gillespie  died   in   Turkey  Cove,  in  1859. 

*This  fine  mountain  stream  was  named  from  this  circumstance.  In  the  latter  part  of 
the  summer  of  1766,  William  Linville,  his  son,  and  a  young  man,  had  gone  from  the  lower 
Yadkin  to  this  river  to  hunt,  where   they  were  surprised  by  a  party  of  Indians,  the  two 


of  Colonel  Charles  and  Major  Joseph  McDowell.  Here 
they  encamped  for  the  night,  after  a  long  and  wearisome 
march,  especially  on  the  part  of  Campbell's  corps,  who  had 
accomplished  well-nigh  thirty-one  miles  this  day,  and  the 
others  about  twenty-three.*  The  McDowells  did  all  within 
their  power  to  render  the  mountaineers  comfortable  around 
their  cheerful  camp-fires — Major  McDowell  particularly^ 
bidding  them  to  freely  avail  themselves  of  his  dry  rails 
in  kindling  their  fires  for  their  evening  repast,  and  for  their 
night's  enjoyment.f 

Here  thej^  had  the  joyous  satisfaction  of  being  joined 
by  the  troops  from  Wilkes  and  Surr}^,  under  the  leader- 
ship of  Cleveland  and  Winston — reported  at  the  time,  for 
effect,  at  eight  hundred,  but  really  numbering  only  three 
hundred  and  fifty.  When  the  people  of  the  Yadkin  region 
heard  of  Ferguson's  advance  into  Burke  county,  and  of 
the  engagement  so  near  them,  at  the  head  of  Cane  creek, 
between  McDowell  and  the  British  and  Tory  forces,  it 
exerted  a  powerful  influence  in  arousing  them  for  active  ser- 
vice. Some  of  them,  under  Colonel  Cleveland,  had  been 
on  the  head  of  New  river,  suppressing  the  Tory  insurrec- 
tion in  that  quarter  ;  and  when  they  received  tidings  of  the 
approach  of  the  over-mountain  men,  they  were  already  em- 
bodied, waiting  to  march  at  the  tap  of  the  drum — if  not, 
indeed,  actuall)^  at  route  to  join  their  distant  brethren. 
West  from  Wilkesboro,  some  eight  or  ten  miles,  they  crossed 
the  Yadkin  at  the  mouth  of  Warrior  creek ;  thence  bearing 
to    the    south-west,    some    eighteen    or  twenty  miles,   they 

Liiivilles  killed,  the  other  person,  though  badly  wounded,  effecting  his  escape.  The  Lin- 
villes  were  related  to  the  famous  Daniel  noone, 

*  We  are  indebted  to  Mr.  McCall  for  the  route  of  march  of  the  King's  Mountain  men 
from  the  North  Cove  to  the  Quaker  Meadows,  derived  from  his  grandfather,  David  Gilles- 
pie, Beside  Mr.  McCall's  tradition,  John  Spelts  and  the  venerable  Major  Samuel  G. 
■  Blalock,  declare  that  they  marched  by  way  of  Quaker  Meadows  and  Morganton,  Captain  A. 
Burgin  and  J,  C.  Whitson  both  of  McDowell  County,  North  Carolina,  state,  on  the  author- 
ity of  aged  people  of  the  Upper  Catawba  valley,  related  to  them  many  years  since,  that 
the  over-mountain  men  assuredly  took  the  route  hy  the  Quaker  Meadows  on  their  outward 

■{"MS.    notes  of  conversations   with  John  Spelts,  of  Marshall  county.  Miss.,  in    1844, 
a  venerable  survivor  of  Major  McDowell's  King's  Mountain  men. 


reached  old  Fort  Defiance ;  and  thence  some  eight  or  ten 
miles  across  Warrior  mountain,  to  Crider's  Fort,*  where 
the  village  of  Lenoir  is  now  located.  Here  Philip  Evans, 
one  of  the  Surry  men,  received  a  severe  injury  by  a  fall 
from  his  horse,  which  rendered  it  necessary  to  leave  him 
there  for  recovery. f 

But  a  worse  accident  befell  Lieutenant  Larkin  Cleve- 
land, a  younger  brother  of  the  Colonel.  -It  was  some  ten 
miles  from  Crider's  Fort,  crossing  the  Brushy  mountain,  to 
Lovelady's  Ford  of  the  Catawba.  While  crossing  the  river, 
Lieutenant  Cleveland,  with  the  advance,  after  having 
passed  a  narrow  defile  between  a  rocky  cliff  and  the  stream, 
w^as  shot  by  some  concealed  Tories  in  the  cliff",  severely 
wounding  him  in  the  thigh.  The  Loyalists  had  learned 
of  Colonel  Cleveland's  march,  and  had  resolved  on  his 
destruction,  hoping  thereby  to  cripple  the  expedition  and 
possibly  defeat  its  object.  Colonel  Cleveland  and  his 
brother  very  much  resembled  each  other  in  size  and 
general  appearance ;  and  the  Tories  probably  mistook 
the  latter  for  the  Colonel. 

The  men  in  the  rear,  on  hearing  the  volley,  rushed  for- 
ward to  surround  ihe  daring  party  in  ambush,  and,  if 
possible,  to  effect  their  capture ;  but  the  birds  had  flown. 
Sending  the  wounded  Lieutenant  in  a  canoe  up  the  river, 
the  troops  forded  the  stream  without  further  trouble,  and  ad- 
vancing half  a  dozen  miles,  passed  through  Morganton — or 
what  was  shortly  after  so  named  in  honor  of  General  Daniel 
Morgan,  the  hero  of  the  Cowpens  ;  and,  about  two  miles  west 

*Hon.  J.  C.  Harper,  of  Patterson,  Caldwell  County,  N.  C,  writes;  *' Fort  Crider 
was  situated  on  a  small  eminence  within  the  present  limits  of  Lenoir.  It  had  a  hill  on  the 
east,  and  another  on  the  west.  Some  forty  years  ago,  I  heard  old  Henry  Sumter  relate, 
that  when  the  fort  was  built,  a  hunter  came  along,  and  declared  it  was  not  safe,  as  he  could 
shoot  a  man  in  it  from  either  of  the  hills.  On  this  being  disputed,  a  coat  was  hung  on  a 
stick  within  the  stockade,  and  the  hunter,  at  the  first  fire,  sent  his  ball  through  it  from  the 
top  of  the  western  hill.     It  was  a  remarkable  shot  for  a  gun  of  those  days.'' 

■f"  Evans'  MS.  pension  statement.  iMr.  Evans  recovered  in  good  season  to  aid  in 
guarding  the  prisoners  on  the  return  of  the  King's  Mountain  men;  and  to  share  under 
Major  McDowell,  in  Morgan's  glorious  victory  at  the  Cowpens,  January  17,  1781.  i^e 
was  a  native  of  Rowan  County,  N.  C,  born  June  17,  1759;  and  died  in  Greenville  County, 
S.  C,  June  19,  1849,  at  the  age  of  ninety  years. 


of  that  point,  they  again  reached  and  re-crossed  the  Catawba, 
meeting  with  a  joyful  reception  by  the  McDowells  and  the 
mountaineers  at  the  Quaker  Meadows.  Here  Lieutenant 
Cleveland  was  confided  to  the  care  of  the  widowed  mother 
of  the  McDowells,  who  bestowed  every  attention  upon  the 
unfortunate  officer.  Though  he  in  time  recovered,  he  was 
a  cripple  for  life.* 

Sunday  morning,  October  the  first,  dawned  bi-ightly 
upon  the  mountaineers  at  their  camp,  at  the  Quaker  Mead- 
ows— a  gratifying  continuation  of  the  fine  weather  that  had 
enabled  them  so  comfortably,  and  with  such  satisfactory 
progress,  to  pass  the  mountain  ranges.  Resuming  their 
march,  with  a  better  road,  they  made  a  more  rapid  advance, 
passing  the  Pilot  mountain,  near  the  present  village  of  Brin- 
dletown — a  noted  beacon  for  travelers,  prominently  discern- 
ible for  many  miles  away.  In  the  afternoon  a  rain  storm 
set  in,  and  they  early  encamped  in  a  gap  of  the  South 
mountain,  near  where  the  heads  of  Cane  and  Silver  creeks 
interlock  each  other,  and  not  very  far  trom  the  scene  of  the 
fight  three  weeks  before,  between  the  British  and  Tory 
forces  and  Colonel  McDowell's  party.  This  day's  march 
numbered  some  eighteen  miles. 

So  wet  did  the  next  day,  Monday,  prove,  that  the  army 
remained  in  their  camp.  The  little  disorders  and  irregu- 
larities which  began  to  prevail  among  the  troops,  unaccus- 
tomed to  discipline  and  restraint,  occasioned  no  little  un- 
easiness among  the  commanding  officers.  As  if  by  instinct, 
the  field  officers  of  the  several  corps  met  that  evening  for 
consultation.  Colonel  McDowell,  as  the  senior  officer,  pre- 
sided. It  was  suggested  that  inasmuch  as  the  troops  were 
from  different  States,  no  one  properly  had  the  right  to  com- 
mand the  whole,  and  it  was  important  that  there  should  be 
a   military  head    to    their   organization ;   and,  to   this  end, 

*MS.  statement  of  Elijah  Callaway;  and  MS.  letters  of  Shadrach  Franklin  and  Jere- 
miah Cleveland — the  two  latter  nephews  of  the  wounded  Lieutenant.  Callaway  was  a 
stout  lad  of  some  eleven  years  at  that  time,  a  resident  of  Wilkes  county,  and  well 
acquainted  with  the  Clevelands. 


that  a  messenger  be  sent  to  General  Gates,  at  his  head- 
quarters, wherever  they  might  be,  informing  him  of  their 
situation,  and  requesting  him  to  send  forward  a  general  offi- 
cer to  take  the  command.     This  was  agreed  to. 

Anything  looking  like  delay  was  not  in  accordance  with 
the  views  of  Shelby  and  his  associate  officers — expedition 
and  dispatch  were  all-important  at  this  critical  juncture.  It 
was  now  proposed,  to  meet  the  emergencjf,  that  the  corps 
commanders  should  convene  in  council  dailj^,  to  determine 
on  the  measures  to  be  pursued  the  ensuing  daj^,  and  appoint 
one  of  their  number  as  officer  of  the  day,  to  put  them  in 
execution,  until  they  should  otherwise  determine.  Colonel 
Shelby,  not  quite  satisfied  with  this  suggestion,  observed 
that  they  were  then  within  sixteen  or  eighteen  miles  of  Gil- 
bert Town,  where  they  supposed  Ferguson  to  be,  who  would 
certainly  attack  them  if  strong  enough  to  do  so,  or  avoid 
them,  if  too  weak,  until  he  could  collect  more  men,  or  ob- 
tain a  reinforcement,  with  which  they  would  not  dare  to  cope, 
and  hence  it  behooved  them  to  act  with  decision  and 
promptitude.  They  needed,  he  continued,  an  efficient  head, 
and  vigorous  movements  ;  that  all  the  commanding  officers 
were  North  Carolinians,  save  Colonel  Campbell,  who  was 
from  Virginia ;  that  he  knew  him  to  be  a  man  of  good 
sense,  and  warmly  attached  to  the  cause  of  his  country ; 
that  he  commanded  the  largest  regiment,  and  closed  by 
proposing  to  make  Campbell  commanding  officer,  until  a 
general  officer  should  arrive  from  head-quarters,  and  that 
they  march  immediatel}''  against  the  enemy. 

Colonel  Campbell  thereupon  took  Colonel  Shelby  aside 
and  requested  him  to  withdraw  his  name,  and  consent  to 
serve  himself.  Shelby  repHed  that  he  was  the  youngest 
Colonel  present — which  was  true  ;  that  he  had  served  under 
Colonel  McDowell,  who  was  too  slow  for  such  an  enter- 
prise, who  would  naturally  take  offence  should  he  be  ele- 
vated to  the  command  over  him  ;  that  while  he  (Shelby) 
ranked  Campbell,  and  as  the  latter  was  the  only  officer  from 

188  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

Virginia,  if  he  pressed  his  appointment,  no  one  would 
object.  Colonel  Campbell  felt  the  force  of  this  reasoning, 
and  consented  to  serve.  The  proposition  was  approved  and 

Shelb}^'s  object  in  suggesting  Colonel  Campbell's  ap- 
poinment,  is  best  explained  by  himself.  "  I  made  the 
proposition,"  saj's  Shelby  in  his  pamphlet,  in  1823,  "to 
silence  the  expectations  of  Colonel  McDowell  to  command 
us — he  being  the  commanding  officer  of  the  district  we 
were  then  in,  and  had  commanded  the  armies  of  militia 
assembled  in  that  quarter  all  the  summer  before  against 
the  same  enemy.  He  was  a  brave  and  patriotic  man,  but 
we  considered  him  too  far  advanced  in  life,  and  too  inactive 
for  the  command  of  such  an  enterprise  as  we  were  engaged 
in.  I  was  sure  he  would  not  serve  under  a  3^ounger  officer 
from  his  own  State,  and  hoped  that  his  feelings  would, 
in  some  degree,  be  saved  by  the  appointment  of  Colonel 
Campbell."  In  his  narrative,  in  the  American  Review^ 
December,  1848,  Governor  Shelby  makes  no  reference  to 
McDowell's  age,  but  simply  states,  that  he  "was  too  slow 
an  officer"  for  the  enterprise. 

Though  Colonel  Shelby  speaks  of  McDowell's  age  as 
objectionable  for  such  a  service,  it  really  deserved  little,  if 
any,  consideration.  He  was  then  only  some  thirty-seven 
years  of  age  * — Colonel  Cleveland  was  some  years  older, 
and  Shelby  himself,  the  youngest  of  the  Colonels,  was  only 
seven  years  his  junior.  It  may  be  curious  to  note,  that 
"Old  Put,"  then  in  active  service,  was  twenty-five  years 
older  than  McDowell,  General  Evan  Shelby,  the  Colonel's 
father,  who,  the  year  before,  commanded  an  important 
expedition    against   the    Chicamauga    Indian    towns,    was 

*  There  is  much  diversity  in  the  authorities  as  to  General  IMcDowell's  birth-year. 
It  is  assumed,  in  this  connectinn,  that  he  was  born  in  1743,  as  stated  in  Wheeler's  Hist,  of 
North  Carolina,  published  while  Captain  Charles  McDowell,  a  son  of  the  General,  was 
still  living,  and  who  is  believed  to  have  furnished  the  statement.  Other  accounts,  of  a  tra- 
ditional character,  place  his  birth,  one  in  1740,  and  another  in  1742  ;  while  his  tomb-stone, 
giving  the  date  of  his  death,  March  31,  1815,  says  he  was  "about  seventy  years  of  age." 
If  this  latter  be  true,  then  he  was  still  younger,  born  about  1745. 


twenty-three  years  older,  General  Stark  fifteen,  Washing- 
ton eleven,  Marion  ten,  Sumter  at  least  four,  and  General 
Greene  one.  The  real  objection  to  Colonel  McDowell  was 
not  so  much  his  age,  as  his  lack  of  tact  and  efficiency  for 
such  a  command  ;  and,  it  has  been  hinted,  moreover,  that 
his  conduct  at  the  Cane  creek  aflair  was  not  without  its 
influence  in  producing  the  general  distrust  entertained  of 
his  fitness  to  lead  the  mountain  men  on  this  important  ser- 
vice. The  expression  was  quite  general,  that  General 
Morgan  or  General  Davidson  should  be  sent  to  take  the 
command ;  the  former,  especially,  who  had  gained  such 
renown  at  Saratoga,  and  had  recently  joined  General 
Gates,  was  highly  esteemed  by  the  mountaineers.* 

Colonel  McDowell,  who  had  the  good  of  his  country 
at  heart  more  than  any  title  to  command,  submitted  grace- 
fully to  what  was  done  ;  but  observed,  that  as  he  could  not 
be  permitted  to  command,  he  would,  if  agreeable,  convey 
to  head-quarters  the  request  for  a  general  officer.  This 
was  warmly  approved,  as  it  was  justly  declared  that  he  was 
well  acquainted  with  the  situation  of  the  country,  and  could, 
better  than  any  other,  concert  with  General  Gates  a  plan  of 
future  operations,  and  they  would  await  his  return.  The 
manner  in  which  this  was  presented  gratified  McDowell, 
who  at  once  set  off  on  his  mission,  leaving  his  men  under 
the  command  of  his  brother.  Major  Joseph  McDowell. f 
Passing  through  Burke  county,  McDowell's  command,  par- 
ticularly, was  considerably  increased]:  by  relatives,  friends 

■••  This  statement  of  the  action  of  the  officers  in  council  at  the  South  Mountain  camp  is 
made  up  largely  frijm  Shelby's  narratives  ;  that  in  Haywood  and  Ramsey's  Histories  0/ 
Tennessee,  his  pamphlet  of  1823,  and  his  Hardin  account  in  the  American  Review  of  Decem- 
ber, 1848.  The  late  Colonel  Wm.  Martin,  of  Tennessee,  also  furnished  his  recollections 
as  derived  in  conversations  with  Colonel  Cleveland.  John  Spelts,  one  of  the  King's 
Mountain  men,  related  several  facts  connected  with  this  council. 

f  Of  the  result  of  McDowell's  mission,  we  have  no  information,  save  that  he  called  at 
the  camp  of  Lacey  and  Hill,  and  their  South  Carolinians,  and  Williams  and  his  corps,  at 
Flint  Hill,  a  dozen  miles  or  so  to  the  eastward  of  the  head  of  Cane  creek  He  doubtless 
visited  General  Gates,  at  Hillsboro;  but  as  the  news  of  the  King's  Mountain  victory 
reached  there  nearly  as  early  as  Colonel  McDowell,  there  was  no  occasion  for  any  action 
in  the  premises. 

\  Shelby's  narrative,  1823. 


and  neighbors ;  and  there  John  Spelts, §  or  Continental 
Jack,  as  he  was  familiarly  called  by  his  associates,  first 
joined  Shelby's  regiment,  but  fought  under  McDowell. 
Colonel  Campbell  now  assumed  the  chief  command ;  in 
which,  however,  he  was  to  be  directed  and  regulated  by  the 
determination  of  the  Colonels,  who  were  to  meet  every  day 
for  consultation. 

Everything  was  now  arranged  quite  satisfactorily  to  the 
Whig  chiefs  ;  and  their  men  were  full  of  martial  ardor, 
anxious  to  meet  the  foe,  confident  of  their  ability,  with 
their  unerring  rifles,  to  overthrow  Ferguson  and  his  Loyal- 
ist followers,  even  were  their  numbers  far  greater  than  they 
were  represented. 

g  MS.  notes  of  conversations  with  Spelts,  in  1844.  He  was  a  jolly  old  soldier,  then  in 
his  ninety-fourth  year,  and  from  him  were  derived  many  interesting  reminiscences  of  the 



September— October,  1780. 

Further  Gathering  of  the  King's  Mountain  Men. —  Williams'  North 
Carolina  Recruits. — Movements  of  Sumter's  Force  under  Hill  and 
Lacey .—  Troubles  with  Williams. — March  to  Flint  Hill. —  The 
Mountaineers  at  their  South  Mountain  Camp. — Patriotic  Appeals 
of  the  Officers  to  their  Men. — Resume  of  Ferguson's  Operations  in 
the  Upper  Catawba  Valley. — Alarming  Intelligettce  of  the  Ap- 
proach of  the  Back  Water  Men. —  Why  Ferguson  Tarried  so  long 
on  the  Frontiers. — British  Scheme  of  Suppressing  the  Rebelliofi  by 
the  Gallows. — Ferguson  Flees  from  Gilbert  Town. — Sends  Messen- 
gers for  aid  to  Cornwallis  and  Cruger. — Frenzied  Appeal  to  the 
Tories.  —  Ferguson's  Breakfast  Stolen  by  Saucy  Whigs.  —  His 
Flight  to  Tate's  Ferry. — Dispatch  to  Lord  Cornwallis. —  Takes 
Post  on  King' s  Mountain,  and  Description  of  it. — Motives  for 
Lingering  there. 

It  will  be  remembered,  that  Governor  Nash  had  granted 
to  Colonel  Williams,  a  South  Carolinian,  the  privilege  of 
organizing  a  corps  of  mounted  men  within  the  North  Prov- 
ince. Under  this  authority,  he  enlisted  about  seventy,  chiefly 
while  encamped  at  Higgin's  plantation,  in  Rowan  County. 
Colonel  Brandon  and  Major  Hammond  were  quite  active 
in  this  service.  The  call  for  recruits  was  dated  September 
twenty-third;  and  was  headed:  "A  call  to  arms! — Beef, 
bread,  and  potatoes."  These  implied  promises  of  good 
fare  were  more  easily  made  than  fulfilled — probably  based 
on  the  fact  that  Governor  Nash  had  given  orders  to  the 
commissaries  of  that  State  to  furnish  the  party  "such  sup- 
plies as  may  be  necessary."  Colonel  Hill  tells  us,  that 
these  North  Carolinians  who  enrolled  under  Williams,  were 
men  who  shirked  duty  under  their  own  local  officers  ;  and 
besides  the  tempting  offer  of  "beef,  bread,  and  potatoes," 
Colonel  Williams  had  furthermore  promised  what  was  re- 


garded  as  still  better  in  the  estimation  of  men  of  easy 
virtue — the  privilege  of  plundering  the  Tories  of  South 
Carolina  of  "as  many  negroes  and  horses  as  they  might 
choose  to  take." 

This  little  force,  as  Major  Hammond  states  in  his  pen- 
sion application,  constituted  "the  largest  portion  of  Wil- 
liams' command  at  King's  Mountain;"  and  with  them  the 
Colonel  pushed  forward  some  sixty  or  seventy  miles  south- 
west of  Salisbury,  where,  after  crossing  the  Catawba  at  the 
Tuckasegie  Ford,  on  the  second  of  October,  he  found 
Sumter's  command  under  Colonels  Hill  and  Lacey,  in  the 
forks  of  the  main  and  south  branches  of  that  stream.*  This 
part}^,  to  the  number  of  about  two  hundred  and  seventy,  had 
retired  from  South  Carolina  for  their  own  safety,  and  to  be 
in  readiness  to  form  a  junction  with  others  whenever  they 
could  hope  thereby  to  render  useful  service  to  their  suffer- 
ing country.  Williams  marched  into  the  camp  of  Sumter's 
men  ;  and  as  Sumter  himself,  and  the  most  of  his  principal 
officers  were  still  absent — the  latter,  endeavoring  to  arrange 
with  Governor  Rutledge  with  reference  to  the  command, 
Williams  probably  thought  it  a  favorable  opportunity  to 
read  again,  as  he  did,  his  commission  of  Brigadier,  and 
with  an  imperious  air,  commanded  the  officers  and  men  to 
submit  to  his  authority.  Colonel  Hill  frankly  told  him,  in 
no  gingerly  language,  that  there  was  not  an  officer  nor  a 
man  in  the  whole  body  who  would,  for  a  moment,  yield 
obedience  to  him  ;  that  commissioners  had  been  sent  to  the 
Governor  with  proofs  of  the  baseness  of  his  conduct,  as 
they  regarded  it,  whose  return  was  soon  expected.  Evi- 
dently fearing,  from  what  he  saw  around  him,  that  he 
might  be  subjected  to  worse  treatment  than  a  mere  denunci- 

*Colonel  Hill's  Manuscript  Narrative;  Major  Hammond's  and  Andrew  Floyd's  pen- 
sion statements  ;  Colonel  Williams'  letter  to  General  Gates,  October  2,  1780,  in  the  gazettes 
of  the  day,  and  Almon's  Reinetiibrancer,  xi,  158. 

By  some  unaccountable  mistake,  or  misprint,  this  letter  of  Colonel  Williams,  is  dated 
"  Burke  County ;  "  when  all  the  other  authorities.  Hill.  Floyd,  Hammond  and  Whelchel— 
the  two  latter  of  Williams'  party— combine  to  show,  beyond  a  doubt,  that  they  were  at  this 
time  in  Lincoln  County,  west  or  south-west  of  Tuckasegie  Ford. 


ation  of  words,  Williams  thought  it  prudent  to  beat  a  safe 
retreat,  which  he  did,  foiTning  his  camp  some  distance 
apart  from  the  other. 

Colonels  Hill  and  Lacey  had  previously  designed  to 
form  a  junction  with  General  Davidson,  of  North  Carolina, 
to  whom  they  had  sent  an  express,  who  gave  them,  in  re- 
turn, information,  probably  derived  through  a  messenger  from 
Colonel  McDowell  on  his  earliest  return  from  Watauga,  that 
there  was,  by  this  time,  a  considerable  body  of  men  from 
both  sides  of  the  mountains',  marching  with  a  view  of 
measuring  swords  and  rifles  with  the  redoubtable  Ferguson. 
With  this  gratifying  intelligence,  they  crossed  the  Catawba 
at  Beattie's  Ford,  and  that  evening  received  the  call  already 
related,  from  Colonel  Williams.  That  day  Colonels  Gra- 
ham and  Hambright  had  joined  the  South  Carolinians,  with 
a  saiall  party  of  some  sixty  men  from  Lincoln  County. 

On  that  evening  Colonel  Hill  suggested  to  Colonel 
Lacey,  that,  as  they  might  have  to  encounter  a  superior 
force  in  a  short  time,  they  had  better  conciliate  Colonel 
Williams,  though  his  followers  were  but  few,  if  they  could 
do  so  without  recognizing  his  right  to  command  them. 
Lacey  coincided  with  this  view.  It  was  therefore  proposed 
that  the  troops  should  be  arranged  into  three  divisions 
— the  South  Carolinians  proper,  Graham  and  Hambright's 
partj%  and  Williams'  followers,  who,  by  this  time,  would 
seem  to  have  been  joined  by  Captain  Roebuck's  company — 
perhaps  some  twenty  or  thirty  in  number ;  and  choose  a 
commanding  officer  for  the  whole,  the  orders  and  move- 
ments of  the  corps  to  be  determined  by  all  the  officers. 
When  the  matter  was  submitted  to  him  the  next  morning, 
he  "  spurned  "  the  offer,  as  Colonel  Hill  informs  us,  renew- 
ing the  intimation,  that  by  virtue  of  his  Brigadier's  com- 
mission, he  would  command  the  whole.  He  was  plainly 
told,  that  if  he  would  not  accept  the  honorable  offer  made 
him,  he  should  absent  himself,  and  not  attempt  to  march 
with  the  South  Carolina  and  Lincoln  County  men,  or  the 

194  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

consequences  might  be  more  serious  than  would  be  agree- 
able to  him.  Seeing  no  prospect  of  can-ying  his  point, 
Williams  finally  acceded  to  the  proposition,  and  an  officer 
was  chosen  to  command  the  whole.  That  day  the  spies 
came  in  with  the  intelligence,  that  the  mountain  men  were 
advancing  through  a  valley  between  a  large  and  small 
mountain — probably  referring  to  the  South  Mountain,  at 
the  head  of  Cane  creek. 

This  party  of  South  Carolinians  and  their  associates 
marched  through  Lincoln  Count}^,  crossing  the  upper  forks 
of  Dutchman's  creek,  proceeding  on  to  Ramsour's  Mill, 
on  the  South  Fork  of  Catawba ;  thence  bearing  some- 
what south-westwardly,  crossing  Buffalo  and  First  Broad 
rivers,  to  Flint  Hill* — now  sometimes  known  as  Cherry 
Mountain,  in  the  eastern  part  of  Rutherford  County — a 
great  place  of  modern  summer  resort,  where  cherries  in 
their  season  abound. f  From  the  flinty  rocks  along  the 
mountain  sides  gush  many  clear  and  cool  springs,  the 
heads  of  neighboring  streams.  The  hill  was  covered  with 
timber,  as  was  doubtless  the  surrounding  country,  rendering 
the  locality  a  most  inviting  camping  ground.  X  Here,  on  the 
third  of  October,  the  South  Carolinians,  the  Lincoln  men, 
and  Williams'  party,  took  up  their  temporary  quarters.  On 
the  day  of  their  arrival  at  Flint  Hill,  Colonel  McDowell 
called  on  them  while  on  his  mission  to  Hillsboro ;  §  but  the 
designs  of  the  mountain  men  to  make  a  push  for  Ferguson 
were  not  fully  resolved  on  till  after  the  Colonel's  departure. 
His  intelligence,  therefore,  was  not  sufficiently  decisive  to 
warrant  them  in  taking  up  their  line  of  march  in  any  direc- 
tion ;  and  so  thej'  patiently  awaited  further  developments 
of  the  plans  and  movements  of  the  mountaineers. 

Let  us  return  to  the  mountain  men  whom  we  left  in  camp 

*MS.    pension    statements    of  Dr.  John  Whelchel,  of  Williams'   party,  and    Andrew 
Floyd,  of  Graham's  men, 

t  Colonel  J.  R    Logan's  MS.  correspondence, 

J  MS.  letter  nf  W.  L.  Twitty. 

g  Shelby's  narrative  in  A^Jcrican  Review,  December,  1848, 


in  the  gap  al  South  Mountain,  some  sixteen  or  eighteen 
miles  north  of  Gilbert  Town.  It  was  now  supposed  that 
the  decisive  contest  between  the  Tories  of  the  Western 
Carolinas  and  their  Whig  antagonists  would  be  fought  at 
that  place.  The  officers  of  the  mountaineers  were  more  or 
less  experienced,  and  felt  an  abiding  confidence  of  success. 
Thinking  it  a  good  occasion,  before  taking  up  the  line  of 
march  on  the  morning  of  October  the  third,  to  address  a 
few  stirring  words  to  the  patriotic  army.  Colonel  Cleve- 
land requested  the  troops  to  form  a  circle,  and  he  "would 
tell  them  the  news,"  as  he  expressed  it.  Though  a  rough, 
uncouth  frontiersman,  and  weighing  at  this  time  fully  two 
hundred  and  fifty  pounds,  Cleveland  possessed  the  happy 
faculty  of  inspiring  men  with  much  of  his  own  indomitable 
spirit.  Colonel  Sevier  was  active  in  getting  the  men  into 
form,  assuring  them  that  they  would  hear  something  that 
would  interest  them.  Cleveland  came  within  the  circle, 
accompanied  by  Campbell,  Shelby,  Sevier,  McDowell, 
Winston,  and  other  officers  ;  and  taking  off  his  hat,  said 
with  much  freedom  and  effect : 

''  Now,  vaj  brave  fellows,  I  have  come  to  tell  you  the 
news.  The  enemy  is  at  hand,  and  we  must  up  and  at 
them.  Now  is  the  time  for  every  man  of  jou  to  do  his 
country  a  priceless  service — such  as  shall  lead  your 
children  to  exult  in  the  fact  that  their  fathers  were  the 
conquerors  of  Ferguson.  When  the  pinch  comes,  I  shall 
be  with  you.  But  if  any  of  you  shrink  from  sharing  in  the 
battle  and  the  glory,  you  can  now  have  the  opportunity 
of  backing  out,  and  leaving  ;  and  j^ou  shall  have  a  few 
minutes  for  considering  the  matter." 

"Well,  mjr  good  fellows,"  inquired  Major  McDowell, 
with  a  winning  smile  on  his  countenance,  "  what  kind  of  a 
story  will  you,  who  back  out,  have  to  relate  when  you  get 
home,  leaving  your  braver  comrades  to  fight  the  battle,  and 
gain  the  victory?" 

"You  have  all  been  informed  of  the  offer,"  said  Shelby  ; 

196  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

"  you  who  desire  to  decline  it,  will,  when  the  word  is  given, 
march  three  steps  to  the  rear,  and  stand,  prior  to  which  a 
few  more  minutes  will  be  granted  you  for  consideration." 
At  length  the  word  was  given  \)j  the  officers  to  their  re- 
spective commands,  that  "those  who  desired  to  back  out 
would  step  three  paces  in  the  rear."  Not  a  man  accepted 
the  unpatriotic  privilege.  A  murmur  of  applause  arose 
from  the  men  on  ever}-  hand,  who  seemed  to  be  proud  of 
each  other,  that  there  were  no  slinks  nor  cowards  among 
their  nvimber.  "I  am  heartily  glad,"  said  Shelby,  "to  see 
you  to  a  man  resolve  to  meet  and  fight  your  country's  foes. 
When  we  encounter  the  enemy,  don't  wait  for  the  word  of 
command.  Let  each  one  of  j'ou  be  j^our  own  officer,  and 
do  the  very  best  you  can,  taking  every  care  you  can  of 
yourselves,  and  availing  yourselves  of  every  advantage  that 
chance  may  throw  in  your  way.  If  in  the  woods,  shelter 
yourselves,  and  give  them  Indian  play  ;  advance  from  tree 
to  tree,  pressing  the  enemy  and  killing  and  disabling  all 
you  can.  Your  officers  will  shrink  from  no  danger — they 
will  be  constantly  with  3^ou,  and  the  moment  the  enemy  give 
way,  be  on  the  alert,  and  strictly  obey  orders."  * 

These  appeals  to  the  mountain  men  were  adroitty  put, 
and  had  a  good  effect.  Each  soldier  felt  that  he  could  im- 
plicitly rely  on  his  fellows  to  stand  by  him  to  the  last.  The 
troops  were  now  dismissed,  with  directions  to  be  ready  to 
march  in  three  hours — and  have  provisions  prepared  for 
two  meals,  and  placed  in  their  knapsacks.  Cleveland  and 
McDowell  seem  to  have  obtained  some  liquor,  and  added 
that  "  when  the  men  were  ready  for  the  march,  they  should 
have  a  'treat.'  "  f  They  marched  down  Cane  creek  a  few 
miles,  making  slow  progress,  and  encamped  for  the  night 
with  the  usual  guards  on  duty.  The  next  daj^  October  the 
fourth,  they  renewed  the  march,  fording  and  re-fording 
Cane,  creek  many  times,  as  the  trail  then  ran,  and  at  night 

'  MS.  notes  of  conversations  with  John  Spelts,  whose  memory  of  this  gathering,  and 
the  remarks  of  Cleveland,  McDowell  and  Shelby,  was  clear  and  vivid, 
t  Spelts'  recollections. 


reached  the  neighborhood  of  its  mouth,  in  the  region  of 
Gilbert  Town.  They  learned  this  day  from  Jonathan 
Hampton,  that  Ferguson  had  retreated  from  Gilbert  Town  ; 
and  also  received  information  that  it  was  his  purpose  to 
evade  an  engagement  with  them.* 

In  order  to  give  a  proper  view  of  the  movements  of  the 
opposing  parties,  it  is  now  necessary  to  recur  to  Ferguson 
and  his  Tory  followers.  It  will  be  remembered,  that  Fergu- 
son's troops  made  an  excursion,  during  the  month  of  Septem- 
bei',  into  the  Upper  Catawba  Valley,  in  then  Burke,  now 
McDowell  County  ;  and  that  several  of  the  patriots,  Captain 
John  Carson  among  them,  were  prevailed  on  by  the  Whig 
leaders  to  take  protection,  simply  as  a  7'use  by  which  to 
save  as  much  of  the  stock  of  the  country  as  possible.  The 
scheme  worked  to  a  charm,  not  merely  in  benefiting  the 
Whigs,  but  by  Captain  Carson's  shrewd  management,  it 
produced,  in  the  end,  a  telling  effect  on  the  few  Tories  of 
that  region.  Ferguson  began  to  suspect  that  Carson  and 
his  friends  were  deceiving  him,  and  saving  more  cattle  than 
probably  belonged  to  them,  and  resolved  that  he  would  not 
be  thus  foiled  by  such  backwoods  diplomacy.  So  he 
fitted  out  a  party  from  camp  to  go  in  quest  of  beeves  thus 
attempted  to  be  smuggled  out  of  harm's  way,  and  lay  in  a 
good  supply  of  meat.  Carson  accompanied  the  foraging 
expedition.  A  large  herd  was  found  roaming  about  the 
extensive  cane-brakes,  where  David  Greenlee  since  resided  ; 
but  Carson  was  close-mouthed  about  their  ownership  imtil 
the  Tory  party  had  slaughtered  over  a  hundred  head  of  fine 
young  cattle,  when  he-  quietly  observed,  that  he  expected 
that  they  were  the  propert}^  of  Joseph  Brown,  Dement,  and 
Johnstone,  who  had  joined  Ferguson,  and  were  then  in  his 
camp.  These  men  got  wind  of  the  transaction,  made  in- 
quiries, and  ascertained  that  it  was  indeed  their  stock  that 
had  been  so  unceremoniously  appropriated  for  his  Majesty's 
troops.     They  were  not  a  little  chop-fallen  and  disgusted. 

*General  Joseph  Graham's  narrative ;  MS.  correspondence  with  Jonathan  Hampton,  Jr. 


and  the  affair  was  soon  noised  abroad,  and  had  quite  a 
dispiriting  effect  upon  the  Loyalists  of  the  country.  Fer- 
guson declared  that  the  Rebels  had  out  witted  him.* 

A  little  incident,  worthy  of  relation,  occurred  while  the 
British  troops  were  encamped  at  Davidson's  place,  since 
Mclntyre's,  two  miles  west  of  Captain  Carson's.  A  soldier 
was  tempted  to  kill  a  chicken  and  enjoy  a  savory  meal,  but 
he  happened  to  be  disco\'ered  by  Mrs.  Davidson,  who 
promptly  reported  the  theft  to  Ferguson.  The  British 
commander  had  the  culprit  immediately  punished,  and  gave 
the  good  lady  a  dollar  in  compensation  for  the  loss.f  This 
act  was  certainly  creditable  to  Ferguson's  sense  of  justice  ; 
but  it  was,  like  an  oasis  in  the  desert,  a  circumstance  of 
very  unfrequent  occurrence. 

Returning  from  this  excursion,  Ferguson  and  his  Tory 
marauders  camped  a  while  at  the  White  Oak  Spring,  near 
Brindletown.  Their  camp  was  in  close  proximity  to  the 
loftj-  peak  known  in  all  that  region  as  Pilot  Mountain,  almost 
isolated  in  the  midst  of  a  comparatively  level  country — 
so  named,  as  tradition  has  it,  from  its  having  been  the  land- 
mark of  the  Indians  in  their  wanderings,  and  the  guide  by 
which  the  Tory  foraging  parties,  in  1780,  directed  their 
course  when  returning  from  their  plundering  expeditions. 
One  of  these  parties  captured  Robert  Campbell,  too  old  for 
active  service,  while  at  breakfast,  at  his  home  on  Camp 
Creek,  twelve  miles  north-east  of  Rutherfordton,  and  con- 
veyed him  to  the  camp  at  White  Oak  Spring. 

Reference  has  heretofore  been  made  to  the  fight  at 
Cowan's  Ford,  on  Cane  creek.     One   traditonj  places  the 

*  MS.  narrative  of  Vance  and  McDowell,  preserved  by  Robert  Henry. 

"I- MS.  letter  of  Governor  D.  L.  Swain,  of  Chapel  Hill.  North  Carolina,  February  8th, 
1854,  to  General  John  G.  Bynum,  on  authority  of  D.  M.  Smith,  of  Asheville,  North  Caro- 
lina, a  grandson  of  Mrs  Davidson,  communicated  by  Rev.  W,  S.  Bynum,  of  Winston, 
North  Carolina. 

t  MS.  correspondence  of  Wm.  L.  Twitty,  who  derived  the  tradition  from  Wm.  Mon- 
teith.  and  he  from  Wm.  Watson,  a  worthy  Revolutionary  hero  who  was  in  the  fight,  and 
who  died  in  1854,  at  the  venerable  age  of  ninety-five  years.  It  may  be  added,  in  this  con- 
nection, that  old  Wm.  Marshall,  in  his  lifetime,  placed  several  large  bloclis  of  granite  on 
the  spot  where  this  contest  is  said  to  have  taken  place,  to  identify  the  locality,  and  com- 
memorate the  occurrence.  This  would  go  to  prove,  that  some  Revolutionary  event  must 
have  transpired  at  that  point. 


locality  of  this  contest  some  three  miles  above  Cowan's 
Ford,  at  the  old  Marshall  place,  now  Jonathan  Walker's,  on 
the  west  branch  of  that  stream.  One  Hemphill  was  killed  ; 
Captain  Joseph  White,  John  Criswell,  and  Peter  Branks 
were  wounded  in  this  afi'air.*  It  was  a  sort  of  drawn 
battle,  on  a  small  scale,  neither  party  caring  to  renew  the 
conflict.  Ferguson  and  his  officers  seemed  to  prefer  camp- 
ing on  or  near  some  hill  or  elevation  ;  so  while  prosecuting 
their  retreat,  they  took  post  on  the  top  of  a  high  hill  at 
Samuel  Andrews'  place,  twelve  miles  north  of  Gilbert 
Town.  Here  the  stock,  poultry,  and  every  thing  they 
could  make  use  of,  were  unfeelingly  appropriated ;  while 
the  unfortunate  owner,  Andrews,  and  his  Whig  neighbors, 
had  fled  for  safety  to  the  neighboring  Cane  creek  moun- 
tains.! At -length  the  jaded  troops,  with  their  disabled 
Major,  Dunlap,  reached  their  old  locality  at  Gilbert  Town 
— the  men  encamping  on  Ferguson's  Hill,  while  Dunlap 
was  conveyed  to  Gilbert's  residence. 

On  the  thirtieth  of  September, J  little  dreaming  of  any 
impending  danger,  Ferguson  wa«  suddenly  awakened  from 
his  sense  of  security.  The  two  Whig  deserters,  Crawford 
and  Chambers,  arrived  from  the  camp  of  the  mountaineers 
on  the  top  of  the  Yellow  Mountain,  with  the  alarming 
intelligence  of  the  rapid  approach  of  "the  Back  Water 
men,"  as  Ferguson  termed  them.  He  rightly  judged,  that 
if  his  threats  of  hanging,  fire,  and  sword  had  no  effect  on 
them,  they  were  coming  with  a  full  determination  to  fight 
him  with  desperation.  He  had  furloughed  many  of  his 
Tory  followers  to  visit  their  families,  under  promise  of 
rejoining  him  on  short  notice.  Hp  had  been  tarrying 
longer  than  he  otherwise  would,  in  the  hope  of  intercepting 
Colonel  Clarke,  who  had  laid  siege  to  Augusta,  Georgia, 

*  MS.  pension  statements  of  Captain  James  Withrow  and  Richard  Eallew. 

■fMS.  correspondence  of  A.  B,  Long  and  W.  L.  Twitty, 

JColonel  Cruger's  letter  to  Ferguson,  of  3d  October,  1780,  refers  to  the  latter's  dis- 
patch of  September  30th,  with  the  alarming  news  of  "so  considerable  a  force  as  you  under- 
stand is  coming  from  the  mountains.  ■■'  '■'  '•'■  I  don't  see  how  you  can  possibly  [defend] 
the  country  and  the  neighborhood  you  are  now  in.  The  game  from  the  mountains  is  just 
what  I  expected." — Ramsey's  Tennessee,  242. 


from  the  fourteenth  to  the  sixteenth  of  September,  and 
would  have  completely  succeeded,  had  not  Colonel  Cruger 
arrived  from  Ninetj-  Six  with  a  party  of  relief,  when  Clarke 
was  compelled  to  make  his  way  northward,  along  the  east- 
ern base  of  the  mountains. 

Cruger  promptly  apprised  Ferguson  of  Clarke's  oper- 
ations and  retirement.  In  the  pursuit,  quite  a  number  of 
the  Whigs  were  taken  prisoners  by  the  British  and  their 
Tory  and  Indian  allies,  and  several  were  scalped.  Captain 
Ashby  and  twelve  other  captives  were  hanged  under  the 
eyes  of  Colonel  Browne,  the  British  commandant  of  Au- 
gusta, who  was  twice  disabled  during  the  seige,  and  was 
smarting  under  the  effect  of  his  wounds  ;  thirteen  who  were 
delivered  to  the  Cherokees  were  killed  by  the  tomahawk, 
or  by  tortures,  or  thrown  into  fires.  Thirty  altogether  were 
put  to  death  by  orders  of  the  vindictive  and  infamous 
Browne.  Lieutenant  William  Stevenson,  one  of  Ferguson's 
corps,  in  writing  from  Gilbert  Town,  on  the  twenty-fifth  of 
September,  probably  gave  vent  to  the  prevalent  feelings  of 
Ferguson's  men  when  he  said,  referring  to  the  pursuit  and 
capture  of  Clarke's  men  :  "  Several  of  whom  they  imme- 
diately hanged,  and  have  a  great  many  moi-e  yet  to  hang. 
We  have  now  got  a  method  that  will  soon  ptU  an  end  to  the 
rebellion  in  a  short  time,  by  hanging  every  man  that  has 
taken  -protection ,  and  is  found  acting  against  us.*'"  Hang- 
ing men  ^'immediately"  after  the}"  were  made  prisoners, 
plainly  implies  that  no  opportunitj^  was  given  to  prove  or 
disprove  whether  they  had  ever  taken  protection  or  not. 
But  this  practice  of  immediate  hanging  was  simply  carrying 
into  effect  Lord  Cornwallis'  inhuman  orders  to  Cruger  and 

Ferguson  was  quite  as  anxious  to  wa3-lay  the  remnant 
of  Clarke's  partisans  as  were  Cruger  and  Browne  to  have 
him  do  so.  It  is  not  improbable,  that  in  furloughing  so 
many  of  his  Tory  recruits,  as  he  had  recently  done,  to  visit 

*  Almon's  Renteiiibrancer  for  1781,  xi,  280-81. 


their  homes,  Colonel  Ferguson  may  have  had  in  view,  that 
their  scattered  localities  might  enable  them  to  obtain  early 
notice  of  the  approach  of  Clarke's  fugitives,  and  promptly 
apprise  him  of  it.  Thus  watching  and  delaying  in  order 
to  entrap  the  Georgia  patriots,  proved  his  own  speedy  de- 
struction. When  the  two  deserters  from  Sevier's  regiment 
brought  him  intelligence  of  his  threatened  danger  from  the 
mountaineers,  he  was  not  slow  to  realize  his  situation.  He 
sent  out  expresses  in  all  directions,  strongly  appealing  to* 
the  Roj^alists  to  hasten  to  his  standard  with  all  possible  ex- 
pedition, and  to  render  him  every  assistance  in  their  power 
in  this  critical  emergency. 

He  evidently  had  a  triple  object  in  view  by  taking  this 
circuitous  course.  He  hoped  still,  peradventure,  to  inter- 
cept Clarke  5  he  anxiouly  desired  to  strengthen  his  own 
force  by  re-inforcements,  and  to  collect  on  his  route  his  fur- 
loughed  South  Carolina  Loyalists,  and  prevent  their  being 
cut  up  in  detail ;  and  he  attempted,  moreover,  to  play  off  a 
piece  of  strategy,  which,  if  successful,  would  relieve  him 
of  the  danger  of  too  close  a  proximity  to  these  swarming 
mountaineers — by  misleading  them  as  to  the  objective  point 
of  his  retreat,  and  thus  indulging  the  hope  that  they  might 
make  a  dash,  by  the  nearest  route,  to  intercept  him  before 
his  expected  arrival  at  Ninety  Six.  Had  Ferguson,  with 
his  three  or  four  days'  start,  taken  the  most  direct  easterly 
course  to  Charlotte,  he  could  easily  have  accomplished  his 
purpose,  as  it  was  only  some  sixty  miles  distant  in  a  straight 
line,  and  could  not  have  exceeded  eighty  by  the  then  zig-zag 
routes  of  travel. 

Leaving  Gilbert  Town  on  the  twenty-seventh  of 
September,  Ferguson  moved  to  the  Green  river  region 
in  quest  of  Clarke.  Three  days  later,  while  in  camp 
at  James  Step's  place,  receiving  the  alarming  intelli- 
gence of  the  rapid  approach  of  the  Back  Water  men,  in 
strong  force,  he  promptly  notified  X,ord  Cornwallis  of  his 
danger,  and  of  the  consequent  necessity  of  his   hastening 


towards  his  Lordship's  head-quarters  ;  and  probably  hinting 
that  a  re-inforcement  or  escort  adequate  to  the  occasion, 
would  prove  a  most  opportune  occurrence.  This  dispatch 
was  confided  to  Abram  Collins  and  Peter  Quinn,  who 
resided  on  the  borders  of  the  two  Carolinas,  and  were  well 
acquainted  with  the  route.  His  injunctions  to  them  were  to 
make  the  utmost  expedition,  and  deliver  the  letter  as  soon 
as  possible.  They  took  the  most  direct  course,  crossing 
•  Second  Broad  river  at  Webb's  Ford ;  thence  by  way  of 
what  is  now  Mooresboro  to  First  Broad  river  at  Stice's 
Shoal ;  and  thence  on  to  Collins'  Mill  on  Buffalo,  when 
they  bore  south-east  to  King's  Mountain.  Proceeding  on 
to  Alexander  Henry's,  a  good  Whig,  they  disguised  their 
true  character  and  mission,  and  there  obtained  refresh- 
ments. Immediately  renewing  their  journej^,  with  undue 
haste,  excited  the  suspicions  of  Mr.  Henry's  family,  that 
the}^  were  engaged  in  some  mischief  boding  no  good  to  the 
public  welfare.  Mr.  Henry's  sons,  inspired  by  a  patriotic 
feeling,  proposed  to  follow  and  apprehend  them  ;  and  pur- 
sued so  closely  on  their  trail,  that  the  miscreants  got  wind 
of  it  in  the  vicinity  of  the  present  Bethel  Presbyterian 
Church,  and  secreted  themselves  by  day,  and  traveled 
stealthily  by  night,  crossing  the  Catawba  at  Mason's  Ferrjr. 
Thus  was  the  dispatch  delayed,  so  that  it  did  not  reach 
Cornwallis  till  the  morning  of  the  seventh  of  October — the 
day  of  Ferguson's  final  overthrow.*  These  details  are 
interesting  as  showing  the  cause  of  Cornwallis'  failure  to 
re-inforce  Ferguson  in  his  time  of  peril  and  need. 

In  addition  to  this  dispatch  to  Lord  Cornwallis  for  suc- 
cor, Ferguson  also  wrote  on  the  thirtieth  of  September  to 

*  General  Joseph  Graham's  King's  Mountain  narrative  gives  this  statement  in  brief; 
many  of  the  particulars  were  furnished  for  this  work  by  Colonel  J.  R.  Logan,  of  Cleveland 
County.  North  Carolina,  "Collins,"  adds  Colonel  Logan,  "  after  the  war,  entered  very  valu- 
able lands  on  Buffalo  Creek  in  this  County.  He  w.ns  often  in  jeopardy  on  account  of  his  noto- 
rious counterfeiting  practices,  and  frequently  in  jail  ;  but  always  had  friends  enough  to 
help  bim  out.  He  died  in  poverty  near  Stice's  Shoal  on  First  Broad  river.  Peter  Quinn 
led  a  worthier  life,  and  became  the  progenitor  of  very  numerous  descendants — some  of 
them,  in  this  County,  and  in  the  West,  highly  respectable  people." 

AND  ITS  HEROES.  '   203 

Colonel  Cruger,  commanding  at  Ninety  Six,  calling  for  a 
large  militia  re-inforcement — how  large  is  not  stated,  but 
several  regiments  ;  when  Cruger  replied  that  there  were  onl y 
half  that  number*  all  told.  And  as  a  rtise^  Ferguson  gave 
out  word,  that  he  was  going  to  Ninety  Six,  and  to  give  coun- 
tenance to  the  deception,  started  in  that  direction,  making 
quite  a  detour  southwardly  from  a  direct  course  to  Charlotte. 
The  fond  hope  of  capturing  Clarke  and  his  intrepid  fol- 
owers  was,  it  would  seem,  almost  an  infatuation  with 
Ferguson.  He  could  not  bear  the  thought  of  leaving  the 
country  without  accomplishing  this  important  object,  if  it 
were  possible  to  do  so.  He  had  his  scouts  out  in  the  direc- 
tion of  the  mountains,  and  was  vigilant  in  seeking  information 
from  the  quarter  where  Clarke  was  supposed  to  be  directing 
his  course.  On  Sunday,  the  fii'st  of  October,  while  beating 
about  the  country,  he  visited  Baylis  Earle's,  on  North 
Pacolet,  a  dozen  miles  south-west  of  Denard's  Ford. 
Captain  William  Green  and  his  company  made  up  a  part  of 
this  force ;  and  while  at  Earle's,  they  killed  a  steer, 
destroyed  four  or  five  hundred  dozen  sheaves  of  oats,  and 
plundered  at  their  pleasure,  f  They  then  marched  to 
Denard's  Ford,  J  making  their  camp  there  for  the  night. 
While  at  this  Ford,  the  old  crossing  of  Broad  river,  half  a 
mile  below  the  present  Twitty's  Ford,  and  some  eight  miles 
from  Gilbert  Town,  Ferguson  issued  the  following  energetic 
appeal — apparently  almost  a  wail  of  despair — addressed 
"  to  the  inhabitants  of  North  Cai"olina,"  and,  doubtless, 
similar  ones  to  the  Loyalists  of  South  Carolina  also  : 

*  Ramsey's  Tennessee,  242. 

-{-MS.  letter  of  Baylis  Earle,  September  nth,  1814,  to  Major  John  Lewis  and  Jonathan 
Hampton,  communicated  by  Hon.  W.  P.  Eynum. 

}MS.  letters  of  Hon.  W.J.  T.  Miller,  Dr.  J.  B.  Twitty,  W,  L.  Twitty,  A.  D.  K.  Miller, 
and  Colonel  J.  R.  Logan  fix  the  locality  of  Denard's  Ford  as  near  \.\\^  present  Twitty's 
Ford  ;  and  the  venerable  Samuel  Twitty,  a  colored  man,  now  eighty-six  years  old,  and 
raised  in  that  neighborhood',  says  the  old  ford,  half  a  mile  below  the  present  Twitty's 
Ford  and  under  a  large  oak  tree  that  long  stood  there,  was  often  pointed  out  to  him  in  his 
boyhood  as  Ferguson's  crossing  place.  The  MS.  McDowell-Vance  narrative  says  Ferguson 
crossed  at  Twitty's  Ford,  which  practically  confirms  these  traditions.  The  Virginia 
Gazette  and  the  old  land  records  of  Rutherford  County  determine  the  orthography  of  the 
name  Denard,  instead  of  Donard,  as  Wheeler  has  it  in  his  History  0/  North  Carolina. 
Allaire's  Diary  also  confirms  this  mode  of  spelling  the  name. 


"  Denard's  Ford,  Broad  River, 

Tryon  County,  October  i,  1780. 

"Gentlemen: — Unless  you  wish  to  be  eat  up  by  an  in- 
undation of  barbarians,  who  havfe  begun  by  murdering  an 
unarmed  son  before  the  aged  father,  and  afterwards  lopped 
oft"  his  arms,  and  who  by  their  shocking  cruelties  and  irregu- 
larities, give  the  best  proof  of  their  cowardice  and  want  of 
discipline;  I  say,  if  you  wish  to  be  pinioned,  robbed,  and 
murdered,  and  see  your  wives  and  daughters,  in  four  days, 
abused  by  the  dregs  of  mankind — in  short,  if  you  wish  or 
deserve  to  live,  and  bear  the  name  of  men,  grasp  your 
arms  in  a  moment  and  run  to  camp. 

"The  Back  Water  men  have  crossed  the  mountains; 
McDowell,  Hampton,  Shelby,  and  Cleveland  are  at  their 
head,  so  that  you  know  what  you  have  to  depend  upon. 
If  you  choose  to  be  degraded  forever  and  ever  by  a 
set  of  mongrels,  say  so  at  once,  and  let  your  women  turn 
their  backs  upon  you,  and  look  out  for  real  men  to  protect 

"Pat.  Ferguson,  Major  yist  Regiment.'"  * 

An  amusing  incident  occurred  in  this  neighborhood.  The 
British  had  captured  Andrew  Miller,  and  were  conveying 
him  along  with  them.  Lewis  Musick,  who  had  just  returned 
from  the  unfortunate  attack  on  Augusta,  joined  Anthony 
Twitty,  an  elder  brother  of  the  William  Twitty  who  con- 
ducted himself  so  bravely  in  the  defence  of  Graham's  Fort, 
as  formerly  related;  and  being  well  mounted,  they  conclu- 
ded to  take  a  scout,  and  see  what  discoveries  they  could 
make.  Coming  to  the  main  road,  it  seemed  to  them  as 
though  the  whole  line  of  travel  for  more  than  a  mile  was 
alive  with  Red  Coats,  Ferguson  and  his  dragoons  among 

^'''Virginia  Gazette,  November  u,  1780;  Wheeler's  North  Carolina,  '\^,\o^\  Ramsey's 
Tennessee,  233.  It  is  exceedingly  doubtful  if  any  such  barbarities  were  perpetrated  upon 
the  Tories  as  Ferguson's  proclamation  asserts.  It  must  have  been  a  figment  of  the  imagi- 
nation, invented  for  effect. 


them.  The  Whig  scouts  had  a  good  view  of  them,  and  as 
they  passed  David  Miller's  place,  one  of  the  enemy  and  a 
negro  remained  behind,  the  latter  going  to  the  spring 
to  catch  his  horse.  The  soldier  —  or  Red  Coat,  as 
Twitty  preferred  to  call  him  —  proved  to  be  Ferguson's 
cook ;  and,  it  seems,  was  completing  the  preparation  of 
a  savory  meal,  to  take  along  for  the  Colonel's  breakfast, 
who  had  been  too  busy  in  getting  his  troops  started  to  enjoy 
his  morning's  repast.  Twittj^  and  Musick  retired  behind  a 
field,  where  they  hitched  their  horses  in  some  bushes,  de- 
termined to  get  ahead  of  the  two  loiterers  and  capture  them. 
Beside  the  road,  there  was  a ,  fallen  tree,  the  top  of  which 
was  yet  thickly  covered  with  leaves,  where  they  secreted 
themselves,  awaiting  the  advance  of  the  supposed  officer 
and  his  servant.  The  negro,  in  about  fifteen  minutes,  came 
dashing  along  some  fifty  yards  in  front.  Twitty  was  to 
rush  out  and  take  the  negro,  while  Musick  was  to  prevent 
the  Red  Coat  in  the  rear  from  shooting  him  ;  and  the  colored 
fellow  was  seized  so  suddenly  that  he  made  no  defence. 
Musick  demanded  the  Red  Coat  to  surrender,  who  seeming 
unwilling  to  do  so,  Twitty  leveled  his  gun  at  him,  with  a 
severe  threat  if  he  did  not  instantly  obey.  At  this  moment 
the  negro  put  spurs  to  his  horse  and  escaped. 

But  the  white  captive  was  dismounted,  and  hurried  off 
half  a  mile  or  more,  and  talking  loudly  by  the  way,  as  if  to 
attract *he  attention  of  pursuers,  he  was  plainly  admonished 
that  another  utterance  would  forfeit  his  life.  After  that,  he 
was  quiet  enough.  Once  out  of  danger  of  being  overtaken, 
the  Whig  scouts  examined  their  prisoner,  and  ascertained 
that  he  was  Ferguson's  cook — not  so  much  of  a  dignitary, 
after  all,  as  they  had  supposed,  and  learned  that  Ferguson 
was  then  on  the  lookout  to  intercept  Colonel  Clarke  and  his 
men  on  their  retreat  from  Augusta.  Twitty  and  his  com- 
panion paroled  the  soldier-cook,  retaining  the  captured  meal, 
which  they  appropriated  to  their  own  use,  and  Ferguson  lost 
his  breakfast. 

206  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

Before  releasing  their  prisoner,  however,  the  Whig 
scouts  found  means  to  pen  a  liurried  note  to  Ferguson,  in- 
forming him,  that  when  they  ascertained  that  the  person 
they  had  taken  was  his  cook,  they  concluded  that  the  British 
commander  could  not  well  dispense  with  so  important  a 
personage,  and  he  accordingly  sent  him  back,  trusting 
that  he  would  restore  him  to  his  butlership.  Overtaking 
the  Colonel,  the  cook  delivered  the  note,  cursing  his  eyes 
if  he  had  not  been  taken  prisoner  by  a  couple  of  Rebel 
buggers,  as  he  termed  them,  and  proceeded  to  curse  and 
denounce  them  at  a  terrible  rate.  Ferguson  quietly  re- 
strained his  temper,  and  told  him  he  was  wrong  to  speak  of 
them  so  harshly,  as  they  had  used  him  well,  and  permitted 
him  to  return  after  a  ver}^  brief  captivity.  Thus  Andrew 
Miller,  who  was  present,  subsequently  reported  the  inter- 

From  Denard's  Ford,  Ferguson  and  his  troops,  accord- 
ing to  Allaii-e's  Diary,  marched  on  Monday  afternoon,  the 
second,  only  four  miles,  where  they  formed  a  line  of 
action,  and  lay  on  their  arms  all  night.  But  the  enemy  they 
so  confidently  expected,  did  not  make  their  appearance. 
Much  precious  time  was  thus  spent  to  no  purpose.  All 
this,  under  ordinary  circumstances,  would  indicate  in- 
decision ;  but  the  British  commander,  it  seems,  still  lingered, 
hoping  to  intercept  Clarke  and  his  Georgia  patriots,  and 
delayed  for  the  return  of  his  men  whom  he  had  furlOughed 
to  visit  their  families,  and  the  hoped-for  militia  from  the 
region  of  Ninety  Six,  and,  after  crossing  Broad  river  at 
Denard's,  purposely  bore  off  to  the  left,  instead  of  continu- 
ing on  the  direct  road  south  to  Green  river  en  route  for 
either  Cowpens  or  Ninety  Six,  hoping  thereby  to  elude  the 
vigilance  of  the  Back  Water  men. 

*  MS.  narrative  of  Anthony  Twitty,  written  in  September,  1832  ;  MS.  letters  of  Drs.  T. 
B.  and  W.  L.  Twitty,  on  authority  of  Mrs.  Jane  Toms  and  others.  Twitty  was  born  in 
Chester  County,  Pennsylvania,  November  29th,  1745,  and  was  much"  engaged  ir  scouting 
service  during  the  Revolution.  Judge  W.  P.  Bynum,  of  Charlotte,  North  Carolina,  kindly 
communicated  Twitty's  MS.  narrative. 


It  is  possible,  moreover,  that  Ferguson  might  have  felt  the 
necessity  of  feeling  his  way  cautiously  out  of  his  difficulties  ; 
that  while  evading  the  mountaineers  on  the  one  hand,  he 
should  not  run  recklessly  into  other  dangers,  it  might  be 
equally  as  formidable ;  for  Lord  Cornwallis  had,  on  the 
twenty-third  of  September,  apprised  him  that  Colonel 
Davie's  party  of  Whig  cavalry  had  marched  against  him, 
which  Ferguson's  apprehensions,  and  Tory  fears,  may  have 
magnified  into  a  much  larger  body  than  eighty  dragoons. 
Nothing,  however,  was  gained  by  these  tardy  operations ; 
and,  in  these  fruitless  efforts  at  strategy,  Ferguson,  had  he 
realized  it,  might  have  exclaimed,  with  the  Roman  digni- 
tary, "I  have  lost  a  day!"  For  he  could  have  marched 
from  Denard's  Ford  to  the  neighborhood  north  of  Cowpens 
from  sunrise  to  sunset,  instead  of  consuming  two  days  in  its 

Allaire's  Diary  informs  us,  that  on  the  third,  Ferguson 
marched  six  miles  to  Camp's  Ford  of  Second  Broad  river, 
thence  six  farther  to  Armstrong's,  on  Sandy  Run,  where  the 
troops  refreshed;  then,  as  they  reckoned  distance,  pushed 
on  seven  miles  to  Buffalo  creek,  a  mile  bej'ond  which  they 
reached  Tate's  plantation — making  twenty  miles  this  day, 
the  route  being  north  of  main  Broad  river.  At  Tate's, 
Ferguson  tarried  two  full  days,  probably  awaiting  in- 
telligence as  to  the  movements  of  the  Whigs,  which  he 
doubtless  received  on  the  evening  of  the  fifth,  for  the  army 
renewed  its  march  at  four  o'clock  on  Friday  morning,  the 
sixth.  During  this  day  Colonel  Ferguson  sent  the  following 
dispatch  to  Lord  Cornwallis,  without  date ;  but  the  con- 
necting facts  fix  the  time  as  here  indicated  : 

"My  Lord  : — A  doubt  does  not  remain  with  regard  to 
the  intelligence  T  sent  your  Lordship.  They  are  since 
joined  by  Clarke  and  Sumter  * — of  course  are  become  an 

*  A  small  squad  of  Clarke's  men  did,  about  this  time,  join  the  mountain  men;  and  Sum- 
ter's force,  under  Colonel  Lacey.  soon  after  effected  a  junction.  Ferguson,  probably  from 
his  spies  and  scouts,  learned  of  these  parties  and  their  intentions. 


object  of  some  consequence.  Happil}--  their  leaders  are 
obliged  to  feed  their  followers  wilh  such  hopes,  and  so  to 
flatter  them  with  accounts  of  our  weakness  and  fear,  that, 
if  necessary,  I  should  hope  for  success  against  them  mjself ; 
but  numbers  compared,  that  must  be  but  doubtful. 

"I  am  on  mj'  march  towards  3'ou,  by  a  road  leading 
from  Cherokee  Ford,  north  of  King's  Mountain.  Three 
or  four  hundred  good  soldiers,  part  dragoons,  would  finish 
the  business.  Something  must  be  done  soon.  This  is  their 
last  push  in  this  quarter,  etc. 

"Patrick  Ferguson."* 

It  is  evident  from  this  dispatch,  that  Ferguson,  when 
penning  it,  had  no  other  design  than  to  march  resolutely 
forward  and  join  his  Lordship  at  Charlotte.  Had  he  then 
in  contemplation  the  taking  post  on  King's  Mountain,  and 
there  awaiting  succor,  and  there  deciding  the  mastery  with 
his  tireless  pursuers,  he  would  likel}'  have  indicated  it  in 
his  letter.  So  he  simply  said  :  "I  am  on  my  march  towards 
you,  by  a  road  leading  north  of  King's  Mountain;"  and, 
at  the  same  time,  tacitly  plead  for  a  re-inforcement,  appar- 
ently aware  by  this  time,  that  though  he  had  succeeded  in 
his  strategic  effort  to  throw  the  Back  Water  men  off  his 
trail,  the}^  were  yet  doggedly  pursuing  him. 

Lieutenant  Allaire  says  it  was  sixteen  miles  from  Tate's 
place  to  "Little  King's  Mountain."  Ferguson  marched 
up  the  old  Cherokee  Ferry  road,  between  the  waters  of 
Buffalo  and  King's  creeks,  crossing  the  western  branch  of 
this  latter  stream  where  Whisnant's  mill  is  now  situated  ; 
thence  on  the  old  Qtiarryroad  to  main  King's  creek;  and 
soon  after  crossing  which,  he  bore  off  to  King's  Mountain. 
Or,  as  Reverend  Robert  Lathan  describes  it,  Ferguson 
"pushed  on  up  the  ridge  road  between  King's  and  Buffalo 
creeks,  until  he  came  to  the  forks,  near  Whitaker's  Station, 
on  the  present  Air-Line  railroad.  There  he  took  the  right 
prong,  leading  across  King's  creek,  thr.ough  a  pass  in  the 

*Almon's  Rejitembrancer  ior  1781,  xi,  280;  Tarleton's  Cainpaigvs,  quarto  edition,  193. 


mountain,  and  on  in  the  direction  of  Yorkville.  Here,  a  short 
distance  after  crossing  the  creek,  on  the  right  of  the  road, 
about  two  hundred  and  fifty  yards  from  the  pass,"*  he  came 
to  King's  Mountain.  Ferguson's  dispatch  to  Cornwallis, 
ah-eady  cited,  and  written  during  the  day  before  the  battle, 
shows  conclusively,  that  this  mountain  bore  its  prefix  of 
"King's"  at  that  time,f  and  that  its  subsequent  occupancy 
by  the  King's  troops  had  nothing  to  do  in  giving  to  it  this 

That  portion  of  it  where  the  action  was  fought,  has  little 
or  no  claim  to  the  distinction  of  a  mountain.  The  King's 
Mountain  range  is  about  sixteen  miles  in  length,  extending 
generally  from  the  north-east,  in  North  Carolina,  in  a  south- 
westerly course,  sending  out  lateral  spurs  in  various  direc- 
tions. The  principal  elevation  in  this  range,  a  sort  of  lofty, 
rocky  tower,  called  The  Pinnacle,  is  some  six  miles  dis- 
tant from  the  battle  ground.  That  portion  of  the  oblong 
hill  or  stony  ridge,  now  historically  famous,  is  in  York 
County,  Sovith  Carolina,  about  a  mile  and  a  half  south  of 
the  North  Carolina  line.  It  is  some  six  hundred  yards  long, 
and  about  two  hundred  and  fifty  from  one  base  across  to  the 
other ;  or  from  sixt}'  to  one  hundred  and  twenty  wide  on 
the  top,  tapering  to  the  South — "so  narrow,"  says  Mills' 
Statistics,  "that  a  man  standing  on  it  may  be  shot  from 
either  side."  Its  summit  was  some  sixty  feet  above  the 
level  of  the  surrounding  country. 

Ferguson's  obsei'ving  eye  was  attracted  to  this  com- 
manding eminence ;  and  regarding  it  as  a  fit  camping 
place,  he  concluded  to  tarry  there.  This  was  on  the  even- 
ing of  the  sixth  of  October.  He  apparently  awaited  the 
expected  return  of  furloughed  parties  of  Loyalists  under 
Major  Gibbs  and  others ;  and  he  fondly  hoped,  too,  to  be 
soon  re-inforced  by  Tarleton,  and  the  militia  from  the  dis- 

*  Pamphlet    Historical  Sketch  of  the   Battle  of  Kings    Mountain,   Yorkville,    South 
Carolina,  1880. 

f  '*  It  took  its  name  "  says  Moultrie's  Memoirs.  "  from  one  King,  who  lived  at  the  foof 
of  the  mount  with  his  family."     The  name  of  King's  Creek  had  also  the  same  origin. 


trict  of  Ninety  Six.  Rejoined  by  his  Loyalist  forces,  and 
strengthened  by  re-inforcements,  he  no  doubt  flattered 
himself  with  gaining  a  crushing  victory  over  the  Back 
Water  men,  whom  he  never  failed  to  belittle,  and  whom 
he  heartily  despised.  He  had  for  months  untiringlj- 
drilled  the  men  under  his  banner ;  his  detachments  under 
Patrick  Moore,  Innes  and  Dunlap,  had  met  with 
repeated  disasters,  which  he  anxiously  desired  a  suit- 
able opportunit)-  to  retrieve  before  joining  his  Lordship 
at  Charlotte.  He  prided  himself  in  his  skill  in  the  use  of 
fire-arms,  and  his  success  in  inspiring  others  with  something 
of  his  own  feelings  of  invincibility  ;  and,  above  all  things, 
he  coveted  a  fitting  occasion  to  put  to  the  test  his  long  and 
patiently  drilled  Loyalists,  as  soon  as  he  could  do  so  with 
a  reasonable  hope  of  success.  This  hope  he  saw  in 
the  expected  "three  or  four  hundred  good  soldiers — part 
dragoons" — hinting,  doubtless,  at  Tarleton's  Legion  cav- 
alry, even  if  the  expected  militia  should  fail  him  ;  when  he 
could,  in  his  own  estimation,  do  up  the  business  for  the 
daring  Back  Water  men,  and  extricate  himself  from  his 
impending  danger.  Cherishing  such  hopes,  he  thought  it 
unwise  to  retire  too  precipitately  to  Charlotte.  Such  a 
retreat  might  betray  signs  of  fear — suggesting,  perhaps, 
that  he  shirked  the  opportunity  he  had  long  pretended  to 
court,  and  he  might  thereby  lose  the  chance  of  a  life-time 
of  distinguishing  himself  on  the  glorious  field  of  Mars,  and 
winning  undying  honors  and  fame  from  his  King  and 
country.  These  visions  of  glory  were  too  tempting,  and  he 
yielded  to  their  seductive  influences.  "The  situation  of 
King's  Mountain,"  said  Arthur  McFall,  one  of  his  Loyalist 
followers,  "was  so  pleasing  that  he  concluded  to  take  post 
there,  stoutly  affirming  that  he  would  be  able  to  destroy  or 
capture  any  force  the  Whigs  could  bring  against  him."*  "So 
confident,"  says  Shelby,  "  was  Ferguson  in  the  strength  of 
his  position,  that  he  declared  that  the  Almighty  could  not 

"MS.  letter  of  Wm.  A.  McCall,  to  whom  McFall  made  the  statement. 


drive  him  from  it."  *  The  McDowell-Vance  narrative 
states,  that  Ferguson  declared,  that  "he  was  on  King's 
Mountain,  that  he  was  king  of  that  mountain,  and  God 
Almighty  could  not  drive  him  from  it."  This  impious 
boast  was  doubtless  made  to  encourage  his  confiding  fol- 

There  was  a  spring  on  the  north-west  side  of  the  moun- 
tain, one  of  the  sources  of  Clai^k's  Fork  of  Bullock's  creek, 
from  which  a  needful  supply  of  water  could  be  obtained, 
though  not  verjr  convenient ;  but  the  countrjr,  wild  as  it 
then  was,  was  unable  to  furnish  anything  like  the  necessary 
amount  of  provisions  requisite  for  such  a  body  of  men.  It 
was  a  stony  spot,  where  lines  could  not  easil}'  be  thrown 
up  ;  there  was,  however,  an  abundance  of  wood  on  the  hill 
with  which  to  form  abatis,  and  defend  his  camp  ;  but  Fergu- 
son took  none  of  these  ordinary  military  precautions,  and 
only  placed  his  baggage-wagons  along  the  north-eastern 
part  of  the  mountain,  in  the  neighborhood  of  his  head- 
quarters, so  as  to  form  some  slight  appearance  of  protection. 
And  thus  he  remained  nearly  a  whole  day,  and  as  Mills 
states,  "inactive  and  exposed,"  f  awaiting  the  return  of  his 
furloughed  men,  and  the  expected  succors  ;  but  these  anx- 

-*Shelby's  narrative  in  American  Review,  December  1848,  corroborated  by  Todd's  mem- 
oir of  Shelby  ;  Colonel  Hill's  MS.  statement;  MS.  notes  of  conversations  with  James 
Sevier  and  John  Spelts,  both  King's  Mountain  men    and  General  Lenoir's  narrative. 

Since  this  chapter  was  put  in  type,  George  H.  Moore,  LL,  D.,  of  the  Lenox  Library,  has 
called  the  author's  attention  to,  and  kindly  loaned  him  a  copy  of  a  rare,  if  not  hitherto  un- 
known pamphlet.  Btograpliical  Sketch,  or  ]\Iemoir  of  Lietiienant  Colonel  Patrick  Ferguson, 
by  Adam  Ferguson,  LL.  D.,  Edinburgh.  1817,  in  which  this  paragraph,  relative  to  Colonel 
Ferguson's  retreat  occurs :  "  He  dispatched  a  messenger  to  Lord  Cornwallis,  to  inform  his 
Lordship  of  what  had  passed, — of  the  enemies  he  had  to  deal  with, — of  the  route  he  had 
taken  to  avoid  them  ;  earnestly  expressing  his  wish,  that  he  might  be  enabled  to  cover  a 
country  in  which  there  were  so  many  well  affected  inhabitants  ;  adding  that  for  this  purpose, 
he  should  halt  at  King's  Mountain,  hoping  that  he  might  be  there  supported  by  a  detach- 
ment from  his  Lordship,  and  saved  the  necessity  of  any  further  retreat.  This  letter  having 
been  intercepted,  gave  notice  to  the  enemy  of  the  place  where  Ferguson  was  to  be  found  : 
and  though  a  duplicate  sent  on  the  following  day  was  received  by  Lord  Cornwallis,  it  came 
too  late  to  prevent  the  disaster  which  followed." 

If  such  a  dispatch  was  sent  to  Lord  Cornwallis,  it  must  have  been  written  after 
Ferguson  had  arrived  at  King's  Mountain,  and  concluded  to  take  post  there.  Certajn  it  is, 
that  Ferguson  sent  several  dispatches  to  Lord  Cornwallis  after  he  commenced  his  retreat 
from  Gilbert  Town,  the  burthen  of  which  evidently  was  to  express  his  great  anxiety  for  a 

T  Statistics  of  South  Carolina,  1826,  p.  778. 


ious  hopes  were  doomed  to  bitter  disappointment.  Instead 
of  the  coveted  re-inforcements,  as  the  sequel  will  show,  came 
the  haled  Back  Water  men,  worse,  if  possible,  than  were 
the  Mecklenburg  hornets  to  Cornwallis  and  his  army. 

His  infatuation  for  military  glory  is  the  only  explanation 
that  can  be  given  for  Ferguson's  conduct  in  lingering  at 
King's  Mountain.  When  he  left  Green  river,  he  knew 
full  well  that  the  mountaineers,  in  strong  force,  were  press- 
ing hard  upon  him,  and  he  marched  towards  Charlotte, 
but  not  expeditiously.  He  knew,  too,  that  the  Back 
Water  men  had,  by  their  various  unions,  become  "  of  some 
consequence,"  as  he  frankly  admitted  in  his  dispatch  to 
Lord  Cornwallis.  Concluding,  therefore,  that  "something 
must  be  done,"  as  he  expressed  it,  to  check  the  onward 
progress  of  the  mountain  men — that  this  was  "their  last 
push  in  this  quarter,"  he  was  not  slow  in  properly  esti- 
mating the  strength  and  prowess  of  his  enemy ;  and 
keenly  realized  his  pressing  need  for  "three  or  four 
hundred  good  soldiers,"  if  he  hoped  to  meet  and  van- 
quish the  coming  horde  of  Back  Water  "barbarians.'' 
The  possible  failure  of  his  Lordship  to  receive  his  dis- 
patches, seems  not  to  have  entered  into  Ferguson's  calcula- 
tions ;  and  he  did  not  fully  realize  the  dangers  besetting 
him — the  meshes  with  which  the  patriots  were  preparing  to 
entrap  him.  He  knew,  indeed,  that  "  the  Campbells  were 
coming ;"  but  the  haughty  Scotsman  relied  this  time  too 
much  on  the  pluck  and  luck  which  had  hitherto  attended 
him.  In  his  own  expressive  language,  a  direful  "  inunda- 
tion "  was  impending.  [Unprepared,  as  he  was,  to  meet  it, 
ordinary  military  prudence  would  have  dictated  that  he 
should  make  good  his  retreat  to  Charlotte  without  a  mo- 
ment's delay.  Within  some  thirty-five  miles  of  his  Lord- 
ship's camp,  he  could  easily  have  accomplished  the  dis- 
tance in^a  few  hours ;  yet  he  lingered  two  days  at  Tate's, 
and  one  on  King's  Mountain,  deluded  with  the  hope  of 
o-aining  undying  laurels,  when  Fate,  the  fickle  goddess,  had 
only  in  store  for  him  defeat,  disaster,  and  death. 



October,  1780. 

Uncertainty  of  Ferguson's  Route  of  Retreat.— A  small  Party  of  Georgians 
join  the  Mountain  Men. —  Whig  forces  over-estimated. — Report  of  a 
patriot  Spy  from  Ferguson's  Camp.—  Williams  attempt  to  Mislead 
the  Mountaineers.— Lacey  sets  them  Right.— The  South  Carolinians' 
treatment  of  Williams. — Selecting  the  fittest  Men  at  Green  river  to 
pursue  Ferguson.— Arrival  at  the  Cowpens. —  The  Tory,  Saunders 
— his  ignorance  of  Ferguson,  his  Beeves  and  his  Corn. — Story  of 
Kerr,  the  cripple  Spy.  —  Gilmer,  the  cunning  Scout,  duping  the 
Tories. —  The  Cowpens  Council,  ficrther  selection  of  Pursuers,  and 
their  Nimiber. — Night  March  to  Cherokee  Ford. — Straying  of  Camp- 
bell's  Men. —  Groundless  Fears  of  an  Ambuscade. —  Crossing  of 
Broad  river. — Stormy  Time. —  Jaded  Condition  of  Men  and  Horses. 
—  Tory  Information.  —  Gilmer's  Adventures.- — Plan  of  Attac/cijig 
Ferguson. —  Colonel  Graham  Retires. —  Chrotiicle  assigned  Comma?id 
of  the  Lincoln  Men. —  Young  Ponder  Taken. — Ferguson  s  Dress. — 
Pressing  towards  the  Enemy  s  Camp. 

Leaving  Ferguson,  for  the  time  being,  at  his  chosen 
position  on  King's  Mountain,  we  will  return  to  the  moun- 
taineers, whom  we  left  encamped,  on  the  night  of  the  fourth 
of  October,  near  the  mouth  of  Cane  creek,  in  the  neighbor- 
hood of  Gilbert  Town.  The  game  they  had  been  seeking 
had  fled.  It  was  generally  reported  that  Ferguson  had 
gone  some  fifty  or  sixty  miles  southwardly,  and  later  assur- 
ances from  two  men,  represented  that  he  had  directed  his 
course  to  Ninetj^  Six,  well-nigh  a  hundred  miles  away.* 
The  defences  of  that  fort  had  been  recently  repaired  and 
strengthened,  f  and  it  was  strongly  garrisoned,  it  was  said, 
with  four  hundred  regulars  and  some  militia.  The  proba- 
bility was  that  it  would  resist  an  assault  by  small  arms,  and 

*  Moore's  Life  of  Lacey,  t6, 

t  Tarleton's  Campaigns,  169,  183. 


the  mountaineers  had  none  others  ;  but  they  were  not  to  be 
thwarted  in  their  purpose,  for  they  had  made  many  a  sacri- 
fice of  personal  comfort,  and  had  traveled  many  a  weary 
mile,  in  order  to  vanquish,  if  possible,  the  great  Tory 
leader  of  the  South.  They,  however,  learned  Ferguson's 
real  strength,  and  were  determined  to  pursue  him  to  Ninety 
Six,  or  wherever  else  he  might  see  fit  to  go.  Here,  before 
renewing  their  march,  the  mountain  men  killed  some  beeves 
for  a  supply  of  fresh  food. 

While  Colonel  Clarke,  of  Georgia,  and  his  followers, 
were  retreating  from  that  unhappy  country,  with  their  fami- 
lies, and  were  aiming  to  cross  the  mountains  to  the  friendly 
Nolachucky  settlements,  they  were  met  by  Captain  Edward 
Hampton,  who  informed  them  that  Campbell,  Shelby, 
Se\'ier,  and  McDowell  were  collecting  a  force  with  which 
to  attack  Ferguson.  Major  William  Candler  and  Captain 
Johnston,  of  Clarke's  party,  filed  oft'  with  thirty  men  and 
formed  a  junction  with  the  mountaineers,  near  Gilbert 
Town.*  Not  very  long  thereafter,  at  what  was  called 
Probit's  place,  on  Broad  river,  Major  Chronicle,  with  a  party 
of  twenty  men  from  the  South  Fork  of  Catawba,  joined  the 
mountain  men.f  Every  such  addition  to  their  numbers  was 
hailed  with  delight ;  and  the  whole  force  was,  for  purposes 
of  policy,  greatly  exaggerated  by  the  leaders,  to  inspire  both 
their  own  men  and  the  enemy  with  the  idea  of  their  great 
strength  and  invincibility.]; 

*McCalI's  History  of  Georgia,  ii,  336.  McCall  mistakes  in  stating  that  Colonel  Clarke 
and  his  Georgia  fugitives  retired  to  Kentucky  for  the  safety  of  their  families.  That  is  of 
itself  improbable;  but  a  MS.  letter  of  Clarke  to  General  Sumter,  of  October  sgth,  1780, 
asserts  that  it  was  to  the  Nolachucky  settlement  they  repaired. 

fVanceMcDowell  narrative,  and  MS.  letter  of  R.  C.  Gillam,  of  Asheville,  North 
Carolina,  to  Dr.  J.  H.  Logan,  communicating  an  interview  with  the  venerable  Robert 
Henry,  one  of  Chronicle's  men. 

X  MS.  statement  of  General  Joseph  McDowell  and  Colonel  David  Vance,  preserved  by 
the  late  Hon.  Robert  Henry,  of  Buncombe  county.  North  Carolina. 

Supposing  the  numbers  reported  correctly,  the  whole  force  assembled  for  the  King's 
Mountain  expedition  did  not  exceed  eighteen  hundred  and  forty  men,  viz  :  Campbell's 
force,  400;  Shelby's,  240;  Sevier's,  240;  McDowell's,  160,  increased  in  Burke  to  probably 
180:  Cleveland  and  Winston's,  350;  Candler's,  30;  Lacey's.  270;  Williams',  70;  and  Ham- 
bright's,  including  Chronicle's,  60.  Yet  they  were  represented  as  numbering  three  thou- 
sand by  Major  Tate,  who  was  in  the  action.     See  General  Davidson's  letter,  October  loth, 


Pursuing  the  same  route  Ferguson  had  taken,  they 
passed  over  Mountain  creek  and  Broad  river,  at  Denard's 
Ford,  when  they  seem  to  have  lost  the  trail  of  the  fugitives, 
whose  place  of  detour  to  the  left  the}^  did  not  happen  to 
discover.  They  constantly  sent  out  scouts,  lest  any  parties 
of  Tories  might  be  roving  through  the  country,  and  take 
them  unawares.  John  Martin  and  Thomas  Lankford,  of 
Captain  Joseph  Cloud's  companjr,  of  Cleveland's  regiment, 
while  out  spjnng,  were  waylaid  near  Broad  river,  by  a 
party  in  ambush,  who  fired  at  them,  severely  wounding 
Martin  in  the  head.  Lankford  escaped  unhurt.  The  Tories 
captured  their  horses  and  Martin's  gun,  leaving  Martin  for 
dead.  At  length  recovering  his  senses,  the  wounded  soldier 
managed  to  reach  the  camp  of  his  friends.  The  shot  had 
fortunately  been  broken  of  their  force  by  his  hat,  and  only 
penetrated  through  the  skin  of  his  temples,  and  John  Death- 
eridge  succeeded  in  picking  them  all  out  of  the  wound. 
Unfit  for  further  service  at  that  time,  Martin  was  conveyed 

1780,  Gordon's  ^?«^r/cfl«  IF^i?- says,  they  "amounted  to  near  three  thousand;  "  and  this 
was  copied  into  the  first  edition  of  Marshall's  Li/e  of  Washington.  In  Steadman's  Ameri- 
can War,  the  number  is  given  as  "  upward  of  three  thousand."  Governor  Shelby,  in  his 
American  Review  narrative,  states  that  "a  Whig  prisoner  taken  by  Lord  Cornwallis  repre- 
sented to  him  that  the  patriot  force  numbered  three  thousand  riflemen  ;  "  and  other  reports 
to  the  British  at  this  period  made  the  number  still  larger.  Judge  Johnson,  in  his  Li/e  of 
Greene,  has  magnified  it  to  "near  six  thousand." 

There  is,  after  all.  some  reason  to  suppose  that  the  Whig  force  was  over-estimated  in 
the  official  report  of  Campbell,  Shelby,  and  Cleveland.  Campbell's  regiment,  according  to 
Ensign  Robert  Campbell,  oneof  the  officers  of  that  corps,  amounted  to  "near  four  hun- 
dred," and  Shelby's  and  Sevier's  together  to  only  three  hundred.  The  M  S.  account  hereto- 
fore cited,  written  by  one  of  Campbell's  men,  whose  name  is  unknown,  states  that  Shelby 
and  Sevier's  united  force  numbered  three  hundred  and  fifty,  and  McDowell's  one  hundred 
and  fifty;  that  Williams',  the  South  Carolinians,  and  the  few  Georgia  troops,  amounted  to 
about  three  hundred  and  fifty;  placing  Campbell's  at  four  hundred  and  fifty,  and  Cleve- 
land and  Win.ston's  at  four  hundred— making  a  total  of  sixteen  hundred.  Colonel  Arthur 
Campbell's  manuscript  only  gives  the  number  of  McDowell's  party  at  one  hundred  and 
fifty.  In  Shelby's  narrative,  in  the  American  Revieiv,  it  is  stated  that  the  Williams  party 
numbered  "  from  two  to  three  hundred  refugees"  which,  united  with  the  others,  "  made  a 
muster-roll  of  about  sixteen  hundred."  It  was.  perhaps,  this  total  number  that  Major 
Tate  reported  to  General  Davidson,  and  which  the  General  misunderstood  as  the  selected 
portion  for  the  battle. 

'^'■MS.  pension  statement  of  Thomas  Shipp.  John  Martin,  one  of  the  heroic  soldiers  of 
that  part  of  Surry  County,  now  constituting  Stokes,  North  Carolina,  was  born  in  Essex 
County,  Virginia,  in  1756:  and.  in  1768,  his  parents  settled  near  the  Saura  Mountain,  in 
Stokes.     During  the  Revolution,  Martin  was  very  active,  sometimes  serving  as  a  private 

216  KING '  S  MO  UN  TAIN 

The  mountain  men,  after  crossing  Broad  i-iver,  went  on 
some  two  and  a  half  miles,  to  what  is  now  Alexander's  Ford 
of  Green  river,  accomplishing  not  over  twelve  or  thirteen  miles 
this  day,  the  fifth  of  October.  Many  of  the  horses  had  become 
weak,  crippled,  and  exhausted,  and  not  a  few  of  the  tramp- 
ers  foot-sore  and  weary.  Their  progress  was  provokingly 
slow,  and  Campbell  and  his  fellow  leaders  began  to  realize 
it.  They  determined  to  select  their  best  men,  best  horses, 
and  best  rifles  ;  and,  with  this  chosen  corps,  pursue  Fergu- 
son unremittingly,  and  overtake  him,  if  possible,  before  he 
could  reach  any  post,  or  receive  any  re-inforcements.  The 
Whig  chiefs  were  not  a  little  perplexed  as  to  the  course  of 
Ferguson's  retreat,  and  the  objective  point  he  had  in  view  ; 
and  some  of  the  men  began  to  exhibit  signs  of  getting 
somewhat  discouraged.  But  all  doubts  and  perplexities 
were  soon  happily  dissipated,  as  we  shall  presently  learn. 

While  Ferguson  was  encamped  at  Tate's  place,  an  old 
gentleman  called  on  him,  who  disguised  the  object  of  his 
visit.  The  next  morning,  October  fifth,  after  traveling  all 
night,  some  twenty  miles  or  more,  Ferguson's  visitor,  well 
known  to  many  of  the  troops  as  a  person  of  veracity, 
arrived  at  the  camp  of  the  South  Carolinians  at  Flint  Hill, 
and  gave  the  following  information :  that  he  had  been 
several  days  with  Colonel  Ferguson,  and  had,  by  his  plausi- 
ble address,  succeeded  in  impressing  the  British  commander 

volunteer,  and  sometimes  as  a  lieutenant,  in  fighting  the  British  and  Tories.  In  February, 
1776,  he  served  a  tour  under  Colonel  Joseph  Williams  against  the  Scotch-Tories,  at  Cross 
creek,  who  were  defeated  just  before  their  arrival  ;  and  in  the  fall  of  that  year,  he  went  on 
General  Rutherford's  expedition  against  the  Cherokees,  In  a  skirmish  with  the  Tories, 
he  wounded  and  captured  one  of  their  leaders,  Horton,  who  died  shortly  afterwards.  In 
July,  1780,  he  went  in  pu'-^uit  of  the  fleeing  Tory  leader.  Colonel  Samuel  Bryan,  and  par- 
ticipated in  the  fight  at  Colsnn's,  under  Colonel  William  Lee  Davidson.  But  for  the  griev- 
ous wound  he  received  near  Broad  river,  he  would  have  shared  in  the  dangers  and  glories 
of  King's  Monnt.iin.  He  was  stationed,  in  September,  1781.  at  Guilford,  and  shortly  after 
at  Wilmington,  where  he  heard  the  joyful  news  of  Cornwallis'  surrender. 

After  the  war,  he  became  a  colonel  in  the  militia ;  in  1798  and  1799,  be  served  as  a  mem- 
ber in  the  House  of  Commons;  and  was  long  a  magistrate,  presiding  for  thirty  years  in  the 
County  Court.  He  was  a  man  of  infinite  humor  and  irony,  possessing  a  keen  perception 
of  the  ludicrous.  Several  characteristic  anecdotes  are  preserved  of  him  in  Wheeler's 
History  of  North  Carolina,  He  died  at  his  home,  near  the  Saura  Mountain,  April  5th, 
1823,  leaving  many  children  to  inherit  his  virtues.  The  late  General  John  Gray  Bynum 
wa.s  his  grandson,  as  is  the  Hon.  William  P.  Bynum,  of  Charlotte. 


with  the  beHef  that  his  aged  visitor  was  a  great  friend  to 
the  Royal  cause;  that  Ferguson,  the  evening  before,  had 
sent  an  express  to  Lord  CornwalHs,  at  Charlotte,  announc- 
ing that  he  knew  full  well  that  the  Back  Water  men  were 
in  hot  pursuit ;  that  he  should  select  his  ground,  and  boldly 
meet  them  ;  that  he  defied  God  Almighty  himself  and  all 
the  Rebels  out  of  h — 1  to  overcome  him  ;  that  he  had 
completed  the  business  of  his  mission,  in  collecting  and 
training  the  friends  of  the  King  in  that  quarter,  so  that  he 
could  now  bring  a  re-inforcement  of  upwards  of  a  thousand 
men  to  the  Royal  army  ;  but  as  the  intervening  distance, 
thirty  to  forty  miles  to  Charlotte,  was  through  a  d — d  rebel- 
lious country,  and  as  the  Rebels  were  such  cowardly  rascals, 
that  instead  of  meeting  him  in  an  open  field,  they  would 
resort  to  ambuscades,  he  would,  therefore,  be  glad  if  his 
Lordship  would  send  Tarleton  with  his  horse  and  infantry 
to  escort  him  to  head-quarters.* 

During  the  day,  Williams  and  Brandon  were  missed 
from  the  camp,  and  Colonel  Hill  was  informed  that  they 
had  taken  a  pathway  that  led  to  the  mountains.  After  sun- 
set they  were  seen  to  return.  Colonel  Hill,  who  had  been 
on  the  watch  for  them,  now  inquired  where  they  had  been, 
as  they  had  not  been  seen  the  greater  part  of  the  day.  A^- 
first,  they  appeared  unwilling  to  give  any  satisfactory  infor- 
mation. Colonel  Hill  insisting  that  they  should,  like  honor- 
able men,  impart.whateverknowledge  they  may  have  gained, 
for  the  good  of  the  whole,  Williams  at  length  acknowl- 
edged that  they  had  visited  the  mountain  men  on  their 
march  south  from  the  neighborhood  of  Gilbert  Town,  and 
had  found  them  a  fine  set  of  fellows,  well  armed.  When  asked 
further  by  Colonel  Hill  where  they  were  to  foi'm  a  junction 
with  them,  he  answered,  "At  the  Old  Iron  Works,  on  Law- 
son's  Fork."  Hill  remarked,  that  that  would  be  marching 
directly  out  of  the'way  from  Ferguson  ;  that  it  was  undoubt- 

=■•' Hill's  MS.  narrative.  Colonel  Hill,  recording  his  recollections  thirty-four  years  after 
this  event,  makes  the  evident  mistake  that  the  old  man  visited  Ferguson  on  King  s 


edly  the  purpose  of  the  mounttiin  men  to  fight  Ferguson, 
who  had  sent  to  Cornwalhs  for  Tarleton's  horse  and  infantry 
to  go  to  liis  relief,  and  this  re-inforcement  miglit  be  expected 
in  a  day  a  two  ;  tlrat,  if  the  battle  was  not  fought  before 
Tarleton's  arrival,  it  was  very  certain  it  would  not  be  fought 
at  all ;  that  Ferguson,  who  had  been  bitter  and  cruel  in  his 
efforts  to  crush  out  the  Whigs  and  their  cause,  was  now  in 
South  Carolina,  within  striking  distance,  and  it  appeared  as 
if  Heaven  had,  in  mercy,  sent  these  mountain  men  to 
punish  this  arch-enemy  of  the  people. 

Colonel  Hill  states,  that  Williams  seemed  for  some 
moments  to  labor  under  a  sense  of  embarrassment ;  but 
finally  confessed,  that  he  had  made  use  of  deception  in 
order  to  direct  the  attention  of  the  mountaineers  to  Ninety 
Six.  Hill  then  inquired  if  they  had  any  cannon  with  them. 
Williams  said  "no,"  and  then  added,  that  such  men  with 
their  rifles  would  soon  reduce  that  post.  Colonel  Hill 
relates :  "I  then  used  the  freedom  to  tell  him,  that  I  plainly 
saw  through  his  design,  which  was  to  get  the  army  into 
his  own  settlement,  secure  his  remaining  property,  and 
plunder  the  Tories.''  In  the  course  of  the  conversation, 
Williams  said,  with  a  considerable  degree  of  warmth,  that 
the  North  Carolinians  might  fight  Ferguson  or  let  it  alone  ; 
but  it  was  the  business  of  the  South  Carolinians  to  fight  for 
their  own  country.  Colonel  Hill  took  the  occasion  further 
to  inform  him,  that,  notwithstanding  he  had  taken  such  un- 
warrantable means  to  avoid  an  action  with  Ferguson,  by  his 
efforts  to  mislead  the  mountain  men,  he  wo\ild  endeavor  to 
thwart  his  purposes. 

Leaving  Williams  to  his  own  reflections.  Colonel  Hill  at 
once  informed  Colonel  Lacey  what  the  former  had  done — 
that,  to  use  a  huntsman's  phrase,  he  had  been  putting 
their  friends  on  the  wrong  scent ;  that  should  they  not  be 
correctly  informed  before  the  ensuing  day,  Ferguson 
might  escape ;  and  as  he.  Colonel  Hill,  was  unfit  to  make 
a  night  ride,  with  his   arm  still  in  a  sling  from  the  severe 


wound  he  received  at  Hanging  Rock,  he  desired  Colonel 
Lacey  to  go  at  once  to  the  camp  of  the  mountaineers,  as  he 
was  better  able  to  travel,  and  give  them  a  just  representa- 
tion of  Ferguson's  localit}^,  and  the  necessity  for  the  great- 
est expedidon  in  attacking  him  while  yet  within  reach,  and 
before  Tai-leton  could  come  to  his  aid. 

Taking  Colonel  Hill's  horse,  who  was  a  good  night 
traveler,  with  a  person  for  pilot  who  was  acquainted  with 
the  country,  Lacey  started  on  his  mission  at  about  eight 
o'clock  in  the  evening  ;  and  on  crossing  the  spur  of  a  moun- 
tain, they  unfortunately  strayed  from  the  trail,  and  Lacey 
began  to  be  suspicious  that  his  guide  was  playing  him  false, 
and  was  endeavoring  to  betray  him  into  the  hands  of  the 
enemy.  So  strong  was  this  conviction,  that  he  twice  cocked 
his  gun  to  kill  the  suspected  traitor  ;  but  the  pilot's  earnest 
pleas  of  innocence  prevailed. 

At  length  they  regained  the  path,  and,  after  a  devious 
journey  of  some  eighteen  or  twenty  miles,  reached  the  camp 
of  the  mountain  men,  at  Green  river,  before  day.  Lacey  was 
at  once  taken  in  charge,  blind-folded,  and  conducted  to  the 
Colonels'  quarters,  where  he  introduced  himself  as  Colonel 
Lacey.  They  at  first  repulsed  his  advances,  taking  him  to 
be  a  Tory  spy.  He  had  the  address,  however,  to  convince 
them  that  he  was  no  impostor.  He  informed  them  of  Fer- 
guson's position,  his  strength,  and  urged  them,  by  all 
means,  to  push  forward  immediately,  and  that,  by  combin- 
ing the  Whig  forces,  they  could  undoubtedly  overwhelm 
the  Tory  army,  while  delay  might  prove  fatal  to  their  success, 
as  Ferguson  had  appealed  to  Lord  Cornwallis  for  re-inforce- 
ments.*  These  views  met  with  a  hearty  response  from  the 
sturdy  mountaineers. 

*  HiH's  MS.  narrative,  and  Dr.  M.  A.  Moore's  pamphlet  Life  of  General  Edward 
Lacey,  pp.  16-17.  Dr.  Moore  states  that  Lacey's  journey  from  the  camp  of  the  South 
Carolinians  to  that  of  the  mountaineers  was  sixty  miles;  but  from  Colonel  Hill's  repre- 
sentation of  the  time  consumed  by  Lacey  and  his  pilot,  it  is  an  evident  mistake.  The  dis- 
tance from  Flint  Hill,  across  a  somewhat  rough  and  broken  country,  to  the  old  ford  on 
Green  river,  is  as  stated  in  the  text. 

It  should  be  added,  in  this  connection,  that  Major  Chronicle,  who  probably  personally 
knew  Colonel  Lacey,  must,  on  this  visit  of  the  latter,  have  been  absent  on  a  scout  or  with 
a  foraging  party. 


Colonel  Lacey  learned  from  the  Whig  leaders  that  Wil- 
liams and  Brandon  had  represented  to  them  that  Ferguson 
had  gone  to  Ninety  Six ;  and  that  by  agreement,  the 
mountain  men  were  to  form  a  junction  with  the  South  Caro- 
linians at  the  Old  Iron  Works,  on  Lawson's  Fork  of  Pacolet. 
This  tallied  precisely  with  the  opinion  Colonel  Hill  had 
formed,  judging  from  Williams'  confession  of  deception,  in 
order  to  lead  the  mountaineers  to  the  region  of  Ninety  Six, 
where  his  own  interests  were  centered.  When  Campbell 
and  his  associates  learned  of  the  ruse  Williams  had  attempt- 
ed to  palm  off  upon  them,  they  felt  not  a  little  indignant, 
as  they  had  come  so  far,  and  suffered  so  many  privations, 
for  the  sole  purpose,  if  possible,  of  crushing  Ferguson. 
The  Cowpens  was  agreed  on  as  the  proper  place  for  the 
junction  of  the  forces  the  ensuing  evening. 

Williams  seemed  intent  on  carrying  his  point  of  getting 
control  of  Sumter's  men,  and  marching  them  towards 
Ninety  Six.  On  the  morning  of  Friday,  the  sixth  of  Octo- 
ber, he  went  the  rounds  of  the  camp  of  the  South  Caroli- 
nians, ordering  the  officers  and  men  to  prepare  to  march 
for  the  Old  Iron  Works  ;  but  Colonel  Hill  followed  quickly 
upon  his  heels,  exposing  his  designs,  and  directing  the  men 
to  await  Colonel  Lacey's  return,  that  they  might  know  to 
a  certainty  to  what  point  to  march,  in  order  to  form 
the  expected  union  with  their  friends  from  the  West. 
Colonel  Hill  animadverted  upon  the  folly  of  making  a 
foray  into  the  region  of  Ninety  Six  simplj^  for  the  sake  of 
Tory  booty,  when  Ferguson,  with  his  strong  force,  would 
be  left  in  their  rear,  thoroughly  acquainted  with  all  the 
mountain  gaps,  and  fords  of  the  streams,  to  entrap  and  cut 
them  off.  Colonel  Hill  then  ordered  all  who  loved  their 
country,  and  were  readj^  to  stand  firmty  by  it  in  its  hour  of 
distress,  to  form  a  line  on  the  right ;  and  those  who  pre- 
ferred to  plunder,  rather  than  courageously  to  meet  the 
enemy,  to  form  a  line  on  the  left.  Colonel  Hill  adds,  that 
he  was  happy  that  the  greater  portion  took  their  places  on 


the  right,  leaving  but  the  few  followers  of  Williams  to  oc- 
cupy the  other  position. 

Upon  the  return  of  Colonel  Lacey,  about  ten  o'clock, 
the  troops  renewed  their  march,  with  the  expectation  of 
uniting  with  the  mountaineers  at  the  Cowpens  that  evening. 
Colonel  Williams,  with  his  followers,  hung  upon  the  rear, 
as  if  he  thought  it  unsafe  to  march  by  himself  at  a  distance  ; 
and  when  the  pinch  came,  he  abandoned  the  idea  of  going 
with  his  party  alone  to  the  region  of  Ninety  Six.  By  this 
time,  such  was  the  spirit  of  animosity  cherished  by  the 
Sumter  men  against  Williams  and  his  followers,  that  they 
shouted  back  affronting  words  —  even  throwing  stones  at 
them,  the  whole  day.*  About  sunset,  after  a  march  of 
some  twenty  miles,  the  South  Carolinians  arrived  at  the 
place  of  their  destination. 

The  over-mountain  men  now  demand  our  attention. 
They  reached  the  ford  of  Green  river  on  the  evening  of 
the  fifth  of  October.  Strong  guards  were  placed  around 
the  camp,  relieved  every  two  hours — "mighty  little  sleep 
that  night,  "said  Continental  Jack  sixtjr-four  years  thereafter. 
The  whole  night  was  spent  in  making  a  selection  of  the 
fittest  men,  horses,  and  equipments  for  a  forced  march,  and 
successful  attack  on-  the  enemy.  The  number  chosen  was 
about  seven  hundred ;  f  thus  leaving  of  the  footmen  and 
those  having  w^eak  horses,  judging  from  the  aggregate 
given   in    the  official   report  of  the  campaign,   about   six 

*  These  details  of  the  movements  and  differences  of  Sumter's  corps  and  Williams 
and  his  party,  are  taken  from  the  interesting  MS.  narrative  of  Colonel  William  Hill.  See- 
ing no  reason  to  discredit  the  statements  of  this  sturdy  patriot,  they  have  been  used  freely, 
the  better  to  illustrate  the  difficulties  of  the  times,  and  especially  those  attending  the  King's 
Mountain  campaign. 

f  Narrative  of  Ensign  Robert  Campbell,  who  served  on  the  expedition;  corroborated 
by  Elijah  Callaway's  MS.  narrative,  in  1843.  Genera]  Wm.  Lenoir  says  "  five  or  six  hun- 
dred "  Campbell's  and  Callaway's  statements  in  this  case  seem  the  most  probable.  Gen- 
eral Lenoir's  recollections  as  to  the  number  of  footmen  is  very  erroneous,  placing  them  at 
about  fifteen  hundred. 

Spelts  stated,  that  some  fifty  odd  footmen  followed  in  the  rear,  he  among  the  number; 
and  old  "  Continental  Jack"  insisted  that  though  at  first  they  were  not  able  to  keep  up 
with  the  horsemen,  yet  they  overtook  them,  before  reaching  King's  Mountain,  and  shared 
in  the  fight.  James  Sevier  testified  to  the  fact,  that  a  number  of  footmen  actually  followed 
and  took  part  in  the  action. 


hundred  and  ninety,  and  somewhat  less,  according  to  the 
statement  of  the  unknown  member  of  Campbell's  regiment. 
These  were  placed  under  the  command  of  Major  Joseph 
Herndon,  an  excellent  officer  of  Cleveland's  regiment,  while 
Captain  William  Neal  was  left  in  special  charge  of  Camp- 
bell's men.  Colonel  Campbell,  realizing  that  the  footmen 
might  j-et  be  needed  in  his  operations,  and  knowing  that 
Neal  was  an  officer  of  much  energy  of  character,  had 
selected  him  for  this  service;  and  gave  directions  to  him, 
and  to  Major  Herndon  also,  to  do  every  thing  in  their 
power  to  expedite  the  march  of  the  troops  confided  to  their 
charge,  by  urging  them  forward  as  rapidly  as  possible. 

Colonel  Lacey's  opportune  visit  to  the  camp  of  the 
mountaineers  was  fortunate.  Some,  at  least,  of  the  Whig 
leaders,  as  tradition  has  it,  began  to  doubt  the  policy  of  con- 
tinuing the  uncertain  pursuit,  lest  by  being  led  too  far  away, 
their  prolonged  absence  from  their  over-mountain  homes 
might  invite  a  raid  from  the  hostile  Cherokees  upon  their 
feebly  protected  families.  Lacey's  information  and  spirited 
appeals  reassured  the  timid,  and  imparted  new  courage  to 
the  hopeful.*  Instead  of  directing  their  course,  as  they 
otherwise  would  have  done,  to  the  Old  Iron  Works,  on 
Lawson's  Fork  of  Pacolet,  some  fifteen  miles  out  of  their 
way,  they  marched  direct  for  the  Cowpens,  starting  about 
daybreak  on  the  morning  of  the  sixth  of  October.  They 
took  a  southerly  direction  to  Sandy  Plains,  following  a 
ridge  road  well  adapted  for  travel ;  \  thence  bearing  south- 
easterly to  the  Cowpens,  a  distance  of  some  twenty-one 
miles  altogether,  reaching  the  place  of  rendezvous  soon 
after  sunset,  a  short  time  after  the  arrival  of  the  South 
Carolinians  and  their  associates,  under  Colonels  Hill,  Lacey, 
WiUiams,  and  Graham. J  On  the  way,  they  passed  near 
where  several  large  bodies  of  Tories  were  assembled ;  one, 

*MS.  letter  of  the  late  Dr.  Alex.  Q.  Bradley,  Marion,  Ala.,  December  29,  1871. 

+  MS.  letter  of  Dr.  T.  B.  Twitty,  of  Twitty's  Ford  of  Broad  river. 

t  Hill's  MS.  narrative.  In  the  narrative  of  Major  Thomas  Young,  one  of  Williams- 
party,  in  the  Orion  magazine,  the  idea  is  conveyed  that  the  mountaineers  arrived  first 
and  were  engaged  in  killing  beeves. 


numbering  six  hundred,  at  Major  Gibbs',  about  four  miles 
to  the  right  of  the  Cowpens,  who  were  intending  to  join 
Ferguson  the  next  dajr ;  but  the  mountain  men  \\'ere  after 
Ferguson,  and  would  not  be  diverted  from  their  purpose, 
and  lose  precious  time,  to  strike  at  these  lesser  parties.* 
The  riflemen  from  the  mountains  had  turned  out  io  catch 
Fergzison,  and  this  was  their  rallying  crj-  from  the  day  they 
had  left  the  Sycamore  Shoals,  on  the  Watauga. f 

While  the  main  object  was  kept  steadily  in  view — not  to 
be  tempted  away  from  the  direct  pursuit  of  Ferguson,  yet 
it  was  deemed  of  sufficient  importance  to  endeavor  to  make 
a  night  attack  on  this  party  at  Major  Gibbs'.  The  only  ac- 
count we  have  of  this  enterprise  is  preserved  in  Ensign 
Campbell's  diary :  "  On  passing  near  the  Cowpens,  we 
heard  of  a  large  body  of  Tories  about  eight  miles  dis- 
tant, and,  although  the  main  enterprise  was  not  to  be 
delayed  a  singlfe  moment,  a  party  of  eighty  volunteers, 
under  Ensign  Robert  Campbell,  was  dispatched  in  pursuit 
of  them  during  the  night.  They  had,  however,  removed 
before  the  mountaineers  came  to  the  place,  and  who,  after 
riding  all  night,  came  up  with  the  main  body  the  next 
daj^."  Ensign  Campbell  adds,  that  "  a  similar  expedition 
was  conducted  by  Captain  Colvill,  with  no  better  success, 
but  without  causing  delay," — and  this,  too,  must  have  been 
the  same  night,  though  he  places  it  as  occurring  on  the 
following  one. J: 

For  an  hour  or  two  on  the  evening  of  the  sixth,  there  was 
a  stirring  bivouac  at  the  Cowpens.  A  wealthy  English  Tory, 
named  Saunders,  resided  there,  who  reared  large  num- 
bers of  cattle,  and  having  many  pens  in  which  to  herd  his 
stock — hence  the  derivation  of  Cow-pens.     Saunders,  was, 

=:=  Shelby,  as  cited  in  Haywood's  Tennessee,  'jo\  and  Ramsey's  Tennessee,  234.  Dr. 
Hunter,  in  his  Sketches,  306,  gives  the  number  of  the  Tory  party  at  Major  Gibbs'  as  "four 
or  five  hundred,"  which  is  perhaps  quite  as  large  as  it  really  was. 

V  Hunter's  Sketches. 

J  MS.  Diary  of  Ensign  Robert  Campbell,  kindly  communicated  by  Rev.  D.  C.  Kelley, 
D.  D.  of  Leeville,  Tenn.  This  diary  is  a  different  document  from  the  King's  Mountain 
narrative,  by  the  same  writer. 


at  the  time,  in  bed — perhaps  not  very  well,  or  feigning  sick- 
ness ;  from  which  he  was  unceremoniously  pulled  out,  and 
treated  prett}'  roughly.  When  commanded  to  tell  at  what 
time  Ferguson  had  passed  that  place,  he  declared  that  the 
British  Colonel  and  his  arm}^  had  not  passed  there  at  all ; 
that  there  was  plenty  of  torch  pine  in  his  house,  which  they 
could  light,  and  search  carefully,  and  if  they  could  find  any 
track  or  sign  of  an  army,  they  might  hang  him.,  or  do  what- 
ever else  they  pleased  with  him  ;  but  if  they  made  no  such 
discoveries,  he  trusted  they  would  treat  him  more  leniently. 
Search  was  accordingly  made,  but  no  evidence  of  an  army 
passing  there  could  be  found.*  Several  of  the  old  Toiy's 
cattle  were  quickly  shot  down  and  slaughtered  for  the  sup- 
ply of  the  hungry  soldiers  ;  and  the  bright  camp  fires  were 
everywhere  seen  lighting  up  the  gloomy  surroundings,  and 
strips  of  beef  were  quickly  roasted  upon  the  coals  and 
embers  ;  while  fifty  acres  of  corn  found  there  were  har- 
vested in  about  ten  minutes. f  The  weary  men  and  horses 
were  refreshed — save  a  few  laggards  who  were  too  tardy  in 
cooking  their  repast. 

Joseph  Kerr,  the  cripple  spy,  was  at  this  time  a  member 
of  Colonel  Williams'  command.  Either  from  Flint  Hill, 
or  shortly  before  reaching  there,  he  had  been  sent  to  gain 
intelligence  of  Ferguson,  and  found  him  encamped — appar- 
ently at  noon-day,  on  the  sixth  of  October — at  Peter 
Quinn's,  six  or  seven  miles  from  King's  Mountain  ;  and 
designed  marching  to  that  point  during  the  afternoon  of  that 
day.  It  was  a  region  of  many  Tories,  and  Kerr  found  no 
difficulty  in  gaining  access  to  Ferguson's  camp  ;  and  hav- 
ing been  a  cripple  from  his  infancy,  passed  unsuspected  of 
his  true  character,  making  anxious  inquiries  relative  to 
taking  protection,  and  was  professedl}'  gratified  on  learning 

"■■'MS.  narrative  of  Vance  and  McDowell,  preserved  by  the  late  Hon.  Robert  Henry. 

f  Silas  McBee's  statement  to  the  author  in  1842.  Mr.  McBee  was  born  November  24, 
1765,  and  was  consequently  not  quite  fifteen  when  he  served  on  this  campaign.  He  died 
in  Pontotoc  County,  Mississippi,  January  6th,  1845,  in  his  eightieth  year.  He  was  a  mem- 
ber of  the  first  legislature  of  Alabama,  and  was  a  man  much  respected  by  all  who  knew  him. 


good  news  concerning  the  King's  cause  and  prospects. 
After  managing,  by  his  natural  shrewdness  and  good  sense, 
to  make  all  the  observations  he  could,  he  quietly  retired, 
making  his  way,  probably  in  a  somewhat  circuitous  course, 
to  rejoin  his  countrymen.  As  they  were  on  the  wing,  he 
did  not  overtake  them  till  the  evening  of  that  day,  at  the 
Cowpens,  when  he  was  able  to  report  to  the  Whig  chiefs 
Ferguson's  movements  and  position,  and  that  his  numbers 
did  not  exceed  fifteen  hundred  men.*  This  information 
was  much  more  recent  than  had  come  through  the  old 
man  who  made  his  report  at  Flint  Hill,  on  the  morning 
of  the  fifth  ;  and  it  tended  to  corroborate  the  correctness  of 
the  general  tenor  of  the  intelligence.  And  it  served  to 
strengthen  the  faith  of  the  mountain  men,  that  with  proper 
energy  on  their  part,  and  the  blessing  of  Providence,  they 
would  yet  overtake  and  chastise  the  wily  British  leader  and 
his  Tory  alhes,  after  whom  they  were  so  anxiously  seeking. 
It  was  deemed  important  to  gain  the  latest  intelligence 
of  Ferguson's  present  position,  for  he  might  not  now  be 
where  he  was  when  seen  by  Kerr.  Among  others, 
Enoch  Gilmer,  of  the  South  Fork  of  Catawba,  was  pro- 
posed by  Major  Chronicle,  of  Graham's  men.  It  was 
objected  that  Gilmer  was  not  acquainted  with  the  country 
through  which  Ferguson  was  beUeved  to  have  marched. 
Chronicle  replied,  that  Gilmer  could  acquire  information 
better  than  those  familiar  with  the  region,  for  he  could 
readily  assume  any  character  that  the  occasion  might  re- 
quire ;  that  he  could  cry  and  laugh  in  the  same  breath,  and 
all  who  witnessed  him  would  firmly  believe  that  he  was  in 
earnest  in  both ;  that  he  could  act  the  part  of  a  lunatic  so 
appropriately  that  even  those  best  acquainted  with  him,  if 
not  let  into  the  secret,  would  not  hesitate  a  moment  to 
believe   that   he  was   actually  deranged;    that   he  was   a 

CMS  pension  statement  of  Joseph  Kerr ;  Hunter's  Slcetches  of  Western  North  Carolina, 
121  After  the  war,  Kerr  removed  to  White  County,  Tennessee,  where  he  received  a  pen- 
sion in  1832  for  his  Revolutionary  services,  and  subsequently  died  at  a  good  old  age. 

226  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

shrewd,  cunning  fellow,  and  a  stranger  to  fear.  He  was 
selected  among  others,  and  started  off  on  his  mission. 

He  called  at  a  Torj^'s  house  not  many  miles  in  advance, 
and  represented  to  him  that  he  had  been  waiting  on  Fergu- 
son's supposed  route  from  Denard's  Ford  to  Ninety  Six, 
intending  to  join  his  forces  ;  but  not  marching  in  that  direc- 
tion, he  was  now  seeking  his  camp.  The  Tor}',  not  sus- 
pecting Gilmer's  true  character,  frankly  related  all  he  knew 
or  had  learned  of  Ferguson's  movements  and  intentions ; 
that,  after  he  had  crossed  Broad  river  at  Denard's  Ford,  he 
had  received  a  dispatch  from  Lord  Cornwallis,  ordering  him 
to  rejoin  the  main  arm)' :  that  his  Lordship  was  calling  in  his 
outposts,  making  readj'  to  give  Gates  a  second  defeat,  reduce 
North  Carolina,  stamping  out  all  Rebel  opposition  as  in 
Georgia  and  South  Carolina,  when  he  would  enter  Virginia 
with  a  larger  army  than  had  3'et  marched  over  American 
soil.*  Gilmer  returned  to  the  Cowpens  before  the  troops 
took  up  their  line  of  march  that  evening.  All  this  was  about 
on  a  par  with  the  ordinary  British  boasting  of  the  times ; 
but  did  not  furnish  the  Whig  leaders  with  the  intelligence 
they  more  particularly  desired  relative  to  Ferguson's  present 
plans  and  whereabouts. 

Meanwhile  a  council  was  held,  in  which  the  newly  joined 
officers,  save  Colonel  Williams,  participated  ;  and  Colonel 
Campbell  was  retained  in  the  chief  command — "in  courte- 
sy," says  Colonel  Hill,  "  to  him  and  his  regiment,  who  had 
marched  the  greatest  distance."  Men  and  horses  refreshed, 
they  started  about  nine  o'clock  on  their  night's  march  in 
quest  of  Ferguson.  To  what  extent  the  North  and  South 
Carolinians,  who  joined  the  mountain  men  at  the  Cowpens, 
added  to  their  numbers,  is  not  certainly  known ;  but 
as  they  were  less  jaded  than  the  others,  they  probably 
reached  about  their  full  quota  of  four  hundred,  as  is 
generally  understood — Williams  had,  a  few  days  before, 
called    them    in    round   numbers,   four  hundred   and    fifty, 

*Vance  and  McDowell  narrative,  as  preserved  by  Robert  Henry. 


including  his  own  corps ;  while  Colonel  Hill  is  silent 
in  his  narrative  as  to  their  strength.  Thus  the  combined 
force  at  the  Cowpens  was  about  eleven  hundred,  and 
nearly  all  well  armed  with  rifles.  Here  a  prompt  selec- 
tion was  made  by  the  officers  from  the  several  parties  just 
arrived  from  Flint  Hill — so  that  the  whole  number  of 
mounted  men  finally  chosen  to  pursue  and  attack  Ferguson, 
was  about  nine  hundred  and  ten,  besides  the  squad  of  un- 
counted footmen,  who  were  probably  not  so  numerous  as 
Spelts  supposed.  They  maybe  estimated,  fro  rata,  accord- 
ing to  the  relative  strength  of  their  respective  corps,  about 
as  follows :  Chosen  at  Green  river — Campbell's  men,  two 
hundred  ;  Shelby's,  one  hundred  and  twenty  ;  Sevier's,  one 
hundred  and  twenty;  Cleveland's,  one  hundred  and  ten; 
McDowell's,  ninety  ;  and  Winston's,  sixty  ; — total,  seven 
hundred.  Additional  troops  selected  at  the  Cowpens : 
Lacey's,  one  hundred;  Williams',  sixty;  and  Graham  and 
Hambright's,  fifty  ; — total,  two  hundred  and  ten  ;  and  mak- 
ing altogether  nine  hundred  and  ten  mounted  men.*  The 
squad  of  uncounted  footmen  should  be  added  to  the  number. 
The  little  party  of  Georgians  seem  to  have  been  united 
with  Williams'  men,  and  served  to  swell  that  small  corps  ; 
Chronicle's  South  Fork  boys  helped  to  make  up  the  Lincoln 
force  under  Graham ;  while  the  few  footmen  doubtless 
generally  joined  their  respecdve  corps,  though  some,  like 
Spelts,  united  with  the  column  most  convenient  to  them 
when  the  time  of  trial  arrived. 

='=The  official  report  signed  by  Campbell,  Slielby  and  Cleveland,  says  nine  bundred  was 
the  number  selected  ;  Shelby's  account  in  Haywood  and  Kamsey,  and  in  the  American 
Review  says  nine  hundred  and  ten;  Colonel  Hills  MS.  narrative  gives  nine  hundred 
and  thirty-three  as  the  number.  Ramsey's  Revolution  in  South  Carotina,  1785  :  Gordon's 
American  War,  1788;  and  Moultrie's  Memoirs,  1802.  all  give  the  number  as  nine  hundred 
and  ten.  So  does  General  Graham  in  his  King  s  Mountain  narrative.  General  Davidson, 
in  his  letter  to  General  Sumner,  October  10,  1780,  says  sixteen  hundred  was  the  number 
selected — a  palpable  error,  or  exaggeration — which  was  copied  by  Marshall  into  the  first 
edition  of  his  Li/e  0/  Washington. 

"  It  is  not  easy."  says  Rev.  Mr.  Lathan.  "  to  determine  with  any  degree  of  certainty, 
the  exact  number  of  Americans  engaged  in  the  battle  of  King's  Mountain."  It  is  as  accurately 
known  as  the  numbers  are  in  military  operations  generally,  by  following  the  official  and 
other  reliable  reports,  and  discarding  palpable  errors  and  exaggerations — such  for  instance, 
as  that  which  this  writer  gives  that  the  South  Carolinians  under  Hill  and  Lacey  "  amounted 
to  near  two  thousand." 


It  pruved  a  very  dark  night,  and  to  add  to  the  un- 
pleasantness and  difficuhy  of  the  march,  a  drizzly  rain  soon 
set  in,  which,  Shelby  says,  was,  at  least  part  of  the  time, 
excessively  hard.  While  the  road  was  pretty  good,  as 
Silas  McBee  represents,  who  was  raised  on  Thicketty  creek 
in  that  region,  yet,  from  the  darkness  brooding  over  them, 
the  pilots  of  Campbell's  men  lost  their  way,  and  that  corps 
became  much  confused,  and  dispersed  through  the  woods, 
so  when  morning  appeared  the  rear  portion  were  not  more 
than  five  miles  from  the  Cowpens,  as  Hill's  manuscript 
informs  us.  Discovering  the  absence  of  the  Virginians, 
and  divining  the  cause,  men  were  sent  from  the  front  at  the 
dawn  of  day,  in  all  directions,  till  the  wanderers  were  found, 
who  had  taken  a  wrong  trail,  and  were  now  put  on  the 
right  road. 

Once  reunited,  with  the  light  of  day  to  guide  them,  they 
pushed  forward  uncommonly  hard.  They  had  designed 
crossing  Broad  river  at  Tate's,  since  Deer's  Ferry,  as  the 
most  direct  route  to  King's  Mountain  ;  and,  as  they  neared 
that  locality,  they  concluded  to  bear  down  the  river,  some 
two  and  a  half  miles,  to  the  Cherokee  Ford,  lest  the  enemy, 
peradventure,  or  some  portion  of  them,  might  be  in  posses- 
sion of  the  eastern  bank  of  the  stream  at  Tate's  crossing, 
and  oppose  their  passage.*  It  was  near  daylight,  when  on 
the  river  hills,  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  Cherokee  Ford, 
Gilmer  was  sent  forward  to  reconnoitre  at  the  Ford,  and 
discover,  if  possible,  whether  the  enem}^  might  not  have 
wa3daid  the  crossing  at  that  point,  with  a  design  of  attack- 
ing their  pursuers  in  the  river.  While  awaiting  Gilmer's 
return,  orders  were  given  to  the  men  to  keep  their  guns  dry, 
for  it  was  yet  raining.  After  some  little  time,  Gilmer's  well- 
known  voice  was  heard  in  the  hollow  near  by,  singing  Bar- 
ney Linn,  a  favorite  jolly  song  of  the  times,  which  was  suffi- 

*  Shelby  \a  American  Review:  Hill's  MS.  narrative;  Vance  and  McDowell's  state- 
ment; General  Joseph  Graham's  sketch  in  Southern  Literary  Messenger,  September,  1845; 
General  Lenoir's  narrative  in  Wheeler's  North  Carolina,  ii,  106  ;  MS.  notes  of  conversa- 
tions with  Silas  McBee. 


cient  notice  that  the  way  was  clear.  As  they  reached  the 
river,  it  was  about  sunrise.  Orders  were  given,  that  those 
having  the  largest  horses  should  stem  the  current  on  the 
upper  side  of  the  stream.  Not  much  attention  was  paid  to 
the  order.  Though  the  river  was  deep,  it  was  remarked 
that  not  a  solitary  soldier  met  with  a  ducking.*  They  had 
now  marched  some  eighteen  miles  since  leaving  the  Cow- 
pens,  and  were  yet  some  fifteen  miles  from  King's 

After  passing  the  river,  Gilmer  was  again  sent  forward 
to  make  discoveries,  and  dashed  off  at  full  gallop.  The 
officers  rode  at  a  slow  gait  in  front  of  their  men — the  latter, 
as  if  getting  somewhat  wearied  of  the  pursuit,  would  some- 
times indulge  in  an  oath,  adding  that  if  they  were  to  have  a 
battle,  they  could  wish  to  engage  in  it,  and  have  it  soon  over. 
Some  three  miles  above  the  Cherokee  Ford,  they  came  to 
Ferguson's  former  encampment,  where  they  halted  a  short 
time,  taking  such  a  snack  as  their  wallets  and  saddle- 
bags afforded — scanty  at  best,  and  manjr  entirely  destitute. 
Coming  to  a  cornfield  by  the  roadside,  the  mountain  men 
would  soon  pull  it,  cutting  some  of  the  raw  corn  from  the 
cob  for  their  own  sustenance,  and  hauling  a  supply  for  their 

The  rain  continued  to  fall  so  heavily  during  the  forenoon, 
that  Colonels  Campbell,  Sevier  and  Cleveland  concluded 
from  the  weary  and  jaded  condition  of  both  men  and  beasts, 
that  it  was  best  to  halt  and  refresh.  Many  of  the  horses 
had  given  out.  Riding  up  to  Shelby,  and  apprising  him  of 
their  views,  he  roughly  replied  with  an  oath:  "I  will  not 
stop  until  night,  if  I  follow  Ferguson  into  Cornwallis' 
lines."  Without  replying,  the  other  Colonels  returned  to 
their  respective  commands,  and  continued  the  march. 
The  men  could  only  keep  their  guns  dry  by  wrapping 
their  bags,  blankets,  and  hunting  shirts  around  the  locks, 

*  MS.  rotes  of  conversations  with   Silas  McBee  ;  Lenoir's  narrative;  and   Benjamin 
Sharp's  statement  in  the  American  Pioneer, 


thvis  leaving  their  own  persons  unpleasantly  exposed  to  the 
almost  incessant  stormjr  weather  which  they  had  encountered 
since  leaving  the  Cowpens.  Proceeding  but  a  mile  after  the 
proposed  halt,  the}^  came  to  Solomon  Season's,  who  was  a 
half- Whig,  half-Loyalist,  as  occasion  required,  where  they 
learned  that  Ferguson  was  only  eight  miles  in  advance  ;  and 
there,  too,  they  had  the  good  fortune  to  capture  a  couple  of 
Tories,  who,  at  the  peril  of  their  lives,  were  made  to  pilot  the 
army  to  King's  Mountain — one,  as  related  by  McBee,  ac- 
companying Shelby,  the  other  Cleveland.  They  gave  some 
account  of  the  situation  of  the  enemy,  which  revived  the 
hopes  of  all,  that  they  would  soon  gain  the  object  they  were 
so  anxiously  seeking.  Another  gratifying  circumstance 
was,  that  the  rain  ceased  about  noon,  and  cleared  off  with 
a  fine  cool  breeze.  When  the  mountaineers  had  advanced 
five  miles  further,  some  of  Sevier's  men  called  at  the  house 
of  a  Loyalist,  seeking  information,  when  the  men  would  only 
say  that  Ferguson  was  not  far  away.  As  they  departed, 
a  girl  followed  the  riflemen  out  of  the  building,  and  in- 
quired:  "How  many  are  there  of  you?"  ''Enough,"  was 
the  reply,  "to  whip  Ferguson,  if  we  can  find  him."  "He 
is  on  that  mountain,"  she  said,  pointing  to  the  eminence 
three  miles  distant.* 

After  traveling  several  miles,  the  officers  in  front  de- 
scried the  horse  of  Gilmer,  the  scout,  fastened  at  a  gate 
about  three-fourths  of  a  mile  ahead.  They  gave  whip  to 
their  steeds,  and  rode  at  full  speed  to  the  place ;  and  on 
going  into  the  house,  found  Gilmer  sitting  at  the  table  eat- 
ing. "You  d — d  rascal,"  exclaimed  Colonel  Campbell, 
"  we  have  got  you  ! "  "A  true  King's  man,  by  G — ,"  re- 
plied Gilmer.  In  order  to  test  the  scout's  ability  to  sustain  his 
assumed  character,  Campbell  had  provided  himself  with  a 
rope,  with  a  running  noose  on  it  after  the  style  of  a  lasso, 

*MS.  notes  of  conversations  with  Colonel  George  Wilson,  of  Nashville,  Tennessee,  in 
1844.  derived  from  Alexander  Greer,  one  of  Sevier's  men,  Greer  was  a  noble  specimen 
of  the  pioneer  soldier ;  became  a  Colonel  of  militia  in  after  years,  and  died  on  Duck  river, 
Bedford  County,  Tennessee,  in  February,  1810. 


and  threw  it  over  Gilmer's  neck,  swearing  that  they  would 
hang  him  on  the  bow  of  the  gate.  Chronicle  begged  that 
he  should  not  be  hung  there,  for  his  ghost  would  haunt  the 
women,  who  were  present  and  in  tears.  Campbell  acqui- 
esced, saying  they  would  reserve  him  for  the  first  conveni- 
ent over-hanging  limb  that  they  should  come  across  on  the 
road.  Once  fairly  beyond  sight  of  the  house,  a  few  hundred 
yards,  the  rope  was  detached  from  Gilmer's  neck,  and  he 
permitted  to  remount  his  horse.  He  then  stated  the  intelli- 
gence he  had  gained :  That  on  reaching  the  house,  and 
finding  it  occupied  by  a  Tory  family,  he  declared  that  he  was 
a  true  King's  man ;  and  wished  to  ascertain  Ferguson's 
camp,  as  he  desired  to  join  him.  Finding  the  two  women  at 
the  house  warmly  attached  to  the  King's  cause,  he  could  not 
repress  his  joy,  so  gave  each  a  hearty  sympathizing  smack  ; 
the  youngest  of  whom  now  freely  related,  that  she  had  been 
in  Ferguson's  camp  that  very  morning,  which  was  only 
about  three  miles  awaj',  and  had  carried  the  British  com- 
mander some  chickens ;  that  he  was  posted  on  a  ridge 
between  two  branches  where  some  deer  hunters  had  a  camp 
the  previous  autumn.  Major  Chronicle  and  Captain  Mat- 
tocks stated  that  the  camp  referred  to  was  theirs,  and  that 
they  well  knew  the  ground  on  which  Ferguson  had  taken 
post — a  spur  of  King's  Mountain. 

As  they  now  had  recent  knowledge  of  Ferguson's  posi- 
tion, the  officers  led  by  Campbell  rode  a  short  distance  by 
themselves,  agreeing  upon  a  plan  of  attack,  and  freely  re- 
ported it  to  the  men  for  their  encouragement ;  assuring  them 
that  by  surrounding  Ferguson's  army,  and  shooting  at  them 
on  their  part  up-hill,  there  would  consequently  be  no  danger 
of  our  men  destroying  each  other,  and  every  prospect  of 
success  would  be  theirs.  It  was  a  question,  whether  the 
mountaineers  were  numerous  enough  to  surround  the  entire 
ridge  on  all  sides — for  they  did  not  then  know  its  exact 
length.  But  the  scheme  was  heartily  approved  by  all.  The 
officers  without  stopping,  began  to  agree  upon  the  position 
each  corps  was  to  occupy  in  the  attack. 


Colonel  William  Graham,  who  was  at  the  head  of  the 
Ivincoln  men,  and  had  rendered  good  service  the  past  sum- 
mer in  connection  with  Shelby  in  the  Spartanburg  region, 
and  had  so  successfully  defended  his  fort  on  Buffalo  creek, 
received  at  this  point  certain  intelligence  that  his  wife  was 
in  a  precarious  condition,  some  sixteen  miles  away,  near 
Armstrong's  Ford  on  the  South  Fork,  and  his  presence  was 
imperatively  demanded  at  the  earliest  possible  moment. 
When  he  stated  the  case  to  Colonel  Campbell,  the  latter 
replied  that  if  he  could  venture  to  remain,  share  in  the  im- 
pending batde,  and  carry  the  tidings  of  victory  to  his  com- 
panion, it  would  prove  the  best  possible  intelligence  to  her. 
Turning  to  Chronicle,  also  from  the  South  Fork,  Campbell 
inquired,  as  if  the  Major  knew  something  of  the  urgency 
of  the  case — "  Ought  Colonel  Graham  to  have  leave  of 
absence?"  "I  think  so.  Colonel,"  responded  Chronicle; 
"as  it  is  a  woman  affair,  let  him  go."  Leave  of  absence 
was  accordingly  granted  ;  and  David  Dickey,  much  against 
his  wishes,  was  assigned  as  an  escort.  Campbell,  judging 
that  Major  Chronicle  was  a  younger  and  more  active  officer 
than  Lieutenant-Colonel  Hambright,  observed  to  the  Major 
— "Now  you  must  take  Graham's  place;"  and  turning  to 
Hambright,  Campbell  asked  if-he  had  any  objections.  He 
generously  said,  it  was  his  wish  that  Chronicle  should  do 
so,  as  he  best  knew  the  ground.  As  this  was  satisfactorily 
arranged.  Chronicle  exclaimed,  "  Come  on,  my  South  Fork 
boys,"  and  took  the  lead.* 

When  within  two  or  three  miles  of  King's  Mountain, 
Sevier's  advance  managed  to  capture  two  or  three  more 
Tories,  who  were  out  spying,  from  whom  corroborative 
information  was  derived  of  the  position  of  Ferguson's  camp, 
and   of  the   locality  of  his   picket  guard. f     Soon   after,    a 

*This  statement  concerning  Gilmer's  adventures,  the  plan  of  the  battle,  and  Colonel 
Graham,  is  taken  from  the  MS  Vance-McDowell  narrative,  and  no  doubt  this  portion  was 
furnished  by  Robert  Henry,  one  of  Chronicle's  party, 

t  Benjamin  Sharp's  statement ;  MS,  notes  of  conversations  with  Colonel  George  Wilson, 
derived  from  Alexander  Greer  ;  Lathan's  Sketch,  14. 


youth,  named  John  Ponder,*  some  fourteen  years  of  age, 
was  met  riding  in  great  haste,  while  another  account  says 
he  was  captvired  in  an  old  field — probably  taking  a  circuit- 
ous course  for  Charlotte.  Colonel  Hambright  knowing  that 
this  lad  had  a  brother  and  other  relatives  in  Ferguson's 
camp,  caused  his  prompt  arrest.  On  searching  him,  a  fresh 
dispatch  from  Ferguson  to  Cornwallis  was  found,  manifest- 
ing great  anxiety  as  to  his  situation,  and  earnestly  renew- 
ing his  request  for  immediate  assistance.  The  substance 
of  the  dispatch  was  made  known  to  the  men,  without,  how- 
ever, mentioning  Ferguson's  strength,  which  he  seems  to 
have  given,  lest  his  numbers  should  tend  to  discourage  them. 
Interrogating  young  Ponder  as  to  the  kind  of  dress  Fergu- 
son wore,  he  replied  that  while  that  officer  was  the  best 
uniformed  man  on  the  mountain,  they  could  not  see  his 
military  suit,  as  he  wore  a  checked  shirt,  or  duster,  over  it. 
Colonel  Hambright  at  once  called  the  attention  of  his  men 
to  this  peculiarity  of  Ferguson's  dress:  "  Well.,  pays,"  said 
he,  in  his  broken  Pennsjdvania  German  accent,  '■'■when  ■you 
see  dotinan  tiiit  a  pig  shirt  on  over  his  clothes,  you  may  knoiv 
■who  him  is,  and  mark  him  mit  your  rijles."  \ 

As  they  approached  within  a  mile  of  the  enemy,  they 
met  George  Watkins,  a  good  Whig,  who  had  been  a 
prisoner  with  Ferguson ;  and  having  been  released  on 
parole,  was  now  on  his  way  home.  He  was  able  to  give 
the  very  latest  information,  with  the  assurance  that  the 
enemy  still  maintained  their  position  on  the  mountain. 
Here  a  brief  halt  was  made.  Hitherto  the  men  had 
been  mostly  unembodied — marching  singly,  or  in  squads. 

*  General  Joseph  Graham,  in  his  King's  Mountain  narrative,  gives  the  name  as  Fonde- 
rin,  which  Dr.  Hunter  in  his  Sketches  repeats.  But  Colonel  J.  R.  Logan,  who  has  lived 
all  his  life  of  some  seventy  years  in  the  King's  Mountain  region,  and  whose  grandfather, 
William  Logan,  was  in  the  battle,  states  that  all  the  aged  persons  of  that  section  of  country 
unite  in  declaring  that  the  youths  name  was  John  Ponder.  A  Mr.  Dover,  says  Colonel 
Logan,  was  likewise  met  on  the  march,  and  imparted  some  information  to  the  Whig 
leaders  of  Fergu^^on's  movements  and  whereabouts;  and  the  families  of  the  Ponders  and 
Dovers  still  reside  in  York  County,  South  Carolina,  and  Cleveland  County,  North  Caro- 
lina, while  Ponder's  Branch  of  King's  creek  is  a  well-known  stream  in  that  quarter. 

•i-General  Graham's  King's  Mountain  narrative;  MS.  correspondence  of  Abram  Hardin; 
Hunter's  Western  North  Carolina,  306-7. 

234  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

as  might  best  suit  their  convenience;  "  but  little  subordi- 
nation," says  Colonel  Hill,  "had  been  required  or  ex- 
pected." The  men  were  now  formed  into  two  lines,  two 
men  deep — Colonel  Campbell  leading  the  right  line,  and 
Colonel  Cleveland  the  left.*  The  officers  renewedly  adopted 
the  plan  of  attack  already  suggested,  to  surround  the  enemy ; 
but  Williams,  as  Colonel  Hill  states,  dared  not  appear  at  the 
council,  in  consequence  of  his  recent  effort  to  mislead  the 
Whig  Colonels.  The  strictest  orders  were  given  that  no 
talking  would  be  allowed  on  the  march,  which  was  faithfully 
obeyed,  every  man  seeming  as  dumb  as  the  poor  brute  that  he 
rode.f  It  was  somewhere  near  this  point,  that  Major  Winston 
was  detached,  with  a  portion  of  the  Wilkes  and  Surry  troops, 
to  make  a  detour,  apparently  south  of  the  Quarry  road,  to 
gain  the  right  of  Ferguson. | 

After  passing  Whistnant's  Mill  creek,  the  mountaineers 
followed  the  ridge  road  past  what  is  now  the  Antioch  Bap- 
tist church,  thence  northerly  till  they  intersected  the  road 
leading  from  North  Carolina  to  Yorkville,  along  which 
latter  they  marched  to  the  right,  a  nearly  south-easterly 
course,  crossing  Ponder's  Branch,  and  another  upper  prong 
of  King's  creek,  by  way  of  Colonel  Hambright's  subsequent 
improvements,  and  through  a  gap  in  the  mountain  to  the 
battle  hill.  Or,  as  General  Graham  describes  the  line  of 
March  after  passing  King's  creek,  "they  moved  up  a  branch 
and  ravine,  between  two  rocky  knobs  ;  be3rond  which  the 
top  of  the  mountain  and  the  enem3''s  camp  upon  it,  were  in 
full  view,  about  a  hundred  poles  in  front." 

This  route  by  way  of  Antioch  church  and  Ponder's 
Branch  was  quite  circuitous,  north  of  the  old  Quarry  road. 
The  traditions  of  the  King's  Mountain  region  are  more  or 
less  contradictory  ;  but  the  statements  of  the  best  informed 
indicate  this   as   the   course  pursued  ;§  and  probably  this 

*  James  Crow's  statement. 

T  Statement  of  Hon.  John  F.  Darby  of  St.  Louis,  derived  from  his  grandfather,  one  of 
Campbell's  men. 

X  General  Lenoir's  narrative. 

g  MS.  statement  of  Colonel  J.  R.  Logan. 


indirect  way  was  taken  in  order  to  cut  off  the  enemy's  retreat, 
should  tliey  attempt  a  flight  towards  Charlotte  when  the 
Whigs  should  make  their  formidable  appearance.  In  the 
rear  of  trees  and  bushes,  on  the  east  side  of  King's  creek, 
a  little  above  where  the  Qtiarrj^  road  passes  that  stream,  the 
mountaineers  arrived  at  about  three  o'clock  in  the  afternoon, 
when  the  word  "  halt "  was  given.  Then  they  were  ordered 
to  "dismount  and  tie  horses  ;  "  next  to  "  take  off  and  tie  up 
great-coats,  blankets,  etc.,  to  your  saddles,"  as  it  had  been 
rainy  the  preceding  night,  and  till  within  the  past  three 
hours  ;  and  a  few  men  were  designated  to  take  charge  of 
the  horses.  Then  came  the  final  general  order:  "Fresh 
prime  j-our  guns,  and  every  man  go  into  battle  firmly  re- 
solving to  fight  till  he  dies!"  *  No  such  word  as  fail  entered 
into  the  composition  or  calculations  of  Campbell  and  his 
men.  Never  was  the  war-cr}^  of  the  ancient  Romans  more 
ceaseless  and  determined,  that  Carthage  must  be  destroyed, 
than  was  that  of  the  mountaineers — to  catch  and  destroy 
Ferguson  ! 

'■'Hon.   J.  F.  Darby's  narrative:  General   Graham's   statement;    Shelby's  memoir  in 
American  Review ;  Latham's  Sketch  of  King  s  Mountain. 



King's  Mountain  Battle,  October  7th,  1780. 

Ferguson  and  his  Men  Resolve  to  Fight. —  The  Bayonet  their  Main  Re- 
liance.— British  Strength. —  Character  of  the  Provincial  Rangers. — 
Different  Classes  of  Loyalists  Described. —  Traits  of  the  Mountain- 
eers.—  The  Holstoti  Men,  and  Frotttier  Adventures. — Assignment 
of  the  Whig  Corps  to  the  Attack. —  Campbell's  Appeal  to  his  Men. 
—  Winston  s  mis- Adventures. —  Cleveland  not  the  First  to  Commence 
the  Action. — Surprising  the  Enejny's  Picket. — Shelby's  Cohinin  An- 
noyed by  the  Enemy. — Campbell' s  Men  Rush  into  the  Fight — At- 
tack on  the  British  Main  Guard. —  The  Virgiiiians  Advance  tip  the 
Moti?ttain. — March  of  Cleveland' s  Meji — Patriotic  Speech  of  their 
Conunander — Drive  in  a  Picket. — Movements  of  Lacey's  Men. — 
Ca?npbeir s  Corps  Driven  before  the  Bayonet — Rally,  and  Renew 
the  Contest. — -Shelby,  too.  Retired  before  the  Charging  Columns. — 
The  Right  and  Left  Wings  take  part  in  the  Action. — -Culbertson's 
Heroism. —  CaptainMoses  Shelby  Wounded. — Ensign  Campbell  Dis- 
lodging Tories  from  their  Rocky  Ramparts. —  Terrific  Character  of 
the  Conflict. — Ajnusing  Incident  of  one  of  Lacey's  Men. — Heroic 
Efforts  of  Campbell  and  his  Corps. — Ensign  CajnpbeW s  Good  Con- 
duct.—  Captain  Edmondson  s  Exploit  and  Death. —  Lieutenant 
Reece  Bowen' s  Disdain  of  Danger,  and  his  Lamented  Fall. —  Camp- 
bells Active  Efforts  and  Heroic  Appeals. — Death  of  Major  Chron- 
icle.—  The  Sotith  Fork  Boys  Charged,  and  Several  Wounded. — 
Robert  Henry  Transfixed,  and  yet  Survived  all  his  Associates. — 
William  Twitty  and  Abram  Forney. —  Clevelatid  and  his  Men. — 
Lieutenant  Samuel  fohnson  and  other  Wounded  Officers. — Lntre- 
pidity  of  Charles  Gordon  and  David  Wither spoofi. — Singular 
Adventure  of  Charles  Bowen  and  Colonel  Cleveland. 

Ferguson  had  carefully  posted  his  Provincial  corps  and 
drilled  Lo}-alists  along  the  crest  of  the  mountain,  extending 
from  nearly  one  end  to  the  other.  They  had  no  thought  of 
retreating  from  their  pursuers.  We  have,  indeed,  no  evi- 
dence that  they  really  knew^  that  the  Back  Water  men  were 


I  so  closely  upon  them.     It  is  true  that  one  account  states, 

f  that  the  British  descried  in  the  far  distance  "  a  thick  cloud 

of  cavalr}^"*  apparently  referring  to  thick  clouds  of  dust 
produced  by  a  large  body  of  horsemen  ;  but  this  could 
not  have  been  so,  for  the  country  was  then  covered  with 
timber,  which  would  have  prevented  any  such  discovery ; 
and  it  had,  moreover,  rained  many  successive  hours  during 
the  preceding  night  and  the  fore  part  of  that  day,  so  that 
there  was  no  dust  from  which  any  clouds  could  arise.  At 
any  rate,  the  enemy  maintained  their  position,  either  hope- 
fully or  sullenly  determined  to  fight  to  the  last. 

Ferguson's  Provincials — or  Rangers,  as  Tarleton  terms 
them — were  not  a  permanent  corps,  but  made  up  for  special 
service,  from  other  Provincial  bodies — the  King's  American 
Regiment,  raised  in  and  around  New  York,  the  Queen's 
Rangers,  and  the  New  Jersey  Volunteers.  These  Colonial 
troops  were  clad,  in  the  early  pa-rt  of  the  war,  in  green  ; 
afterwards,  as  a  rule,  they  wore  scarlet  coats. f  The 
Provincials  were  well  trained,  and  Ferguson  relied  largely 
upon  them  in  consequence  of  their  practised  skill  in 
the  vise  of  the  bayonet ;  and,  in  case  of  necessitj^,  for  such 
of  his  Tory  troops  as  were  without  that  implement,  he  had 
provided  each  with  a  long  knife,  made  by  the  blacksmiths 
of  the  country,  the  butt  end  of  the  handle  of  which  v/as 
fitted  the  proper  size  to  insert  snugly  in  the  muzzle  of  the 
rifle,  with  a  shoulder  or  button  two  inches  or  more  from 
the  end,  so  that  it  could  be  used  as  an  effective  substitute 
for  a  bayonet. 

What  was  the  exact  strength  of  Ferguson's  force  cannot 
with  certainty  be  determined.  Tarleton  says,  beside  his 
corps  of  Rangers — which  numbered  about  one  hundred  — 
he  had  not  far  from  one  thousand  Loyal  Militia,;]:  while 
some  British  accounts  put  the  number  as  low  as  eight  hun- 

"* History  0/  the  War  in  America,  Dublin,  1785,  iii,  149. 
■fMS.  Correspondence  of  Gen.  J.  W.  DePeyster. 
X  Southern  Campaigns,  156, 


dred.  The  American  official  report,  professing  to  gain  the 
information  from  the  enemy's  provision  returns  of  that  da}-, 
gives  the  number  as  eleven  hundred  and  twenty-five  ;  and 
this  tallies  pretty  closely  with  Tarleton's  statement.  There 
is,  however,  some  reason  to  suppose  that  about  two  hundred 
Tories  left  camp  that  day,  perhaps  on  a  scout,  but  more 
likely  on  a  foraging  expedition. 

It  is  fitting,  in  this  connection,  to  speak  of  the  character 
of  these  Loyalists,  here  arrayed  on  King's  Mountain,  and 
about  to  engage  in  a  memorable  conflict  against  their  com- 
mon country — for  they  were  all,  or  nearly  all,  save  Fergu- 
son himself,  natives  of  the  Colonies.  Now  that  Dunlap  was 
separated  from  them,  Ferguson's  corps  of  Rangers  seem  to 
have  been  quite  as  unobjectionable  a  class  of  men  as  the 
temptations  and  unrestrained  recklessness  of  war  ordinarily 
permit  the  military  to  be ;  and,  though  they  had  fled  before 
Captain  Hampton  in  their  retreat  from  Earle's  Ford  of  North 
Pacolet,  and  had  recoiled  before  the  galling  fire  of  Shelby 
and  Clarke  near  Cedar  Spring,  the  summer  preceding,  yet 
they  were  experienced  soldiers,  and  were  by  many  account- 
ed as  brave  and  reliable  as  any  British  troops  in  America. 

But  who  were  the  Tories  proper?  They  were  made  up 
of  different  classes  of  citizens  who  sympathized  with,  or 
took  up  arms  for  the  King,  and  fought  against  their  fellow- 
citizens  who  were  bravely  contending  for  the  liberties  of 
their  country.  Tiiose  of  them  who  remained  after  the  war, 
in  their  old  localities,  were  sadly  abused  and  villified  as  long 
as  they  lived.  They  hardly  dared  to  offer  an  apology  for 
their  conduct.  Thej'  were  numerous  in  many  of  the  States, 
and  have  left  many  descendants,  not  a  few  of  whom  are 
among  the  most  worthy  and  respected  in  the  communities 
where  they  reside  ;  yet  none  of  them  boast  of  their  relation- 
ship to  the  Loyalists.  It  has  been  the  fashion  to  stigmatize 
the  Tories  without  stint  and  without  discrimination,  heap- 
ing all  manner  of  reproaches  upon  them  and  their  class 
generally.     The  issue  of  the  war,  and  the  general  verdict 


of  the  Whigs,  who  had  suffered  not  a  little  in  the  seven 
years'  conflict,  seemed  to  justify  these  severe  judgments. 
No  one  now  supposes  that  he  would  have  been  a  Tory,  had 
it  been  the  will  of  Providence  that  he  should  have  been  an 
actor  in  the  scenes  of  the  Revolution  a  century  ago.  As 
he  reads  the  history  of  the  stirring  events  connected  with 
the  war,  he  concludes,  that  had  he  been  there,  he  would, 
as  a  matter  of  course,  have  been  on  the  right  side,  periling 
life  and  fortune  at  every  hazard  in  the  cause  of  freedom. 

It  is  easy  enough  for  us  to  imagine,  when  we  read  of 
deeds  of  humanity,  generosity,  and  noble  daring,  that  we, 
too,  would  have  acted  in  a  similar  manner  had  we  been  in 
the  same  situation  as  those  persons  were  who  performed 
them.  Few  know,  till  they  are  tried,  what  they  would  do 
under  certain  circumstances.  One's  associations,  surround- 
ings, and  temptations  oftentimes  exert  an  overpowering  in- 
fluence. Let  us  judge  even  the  Tories  with  as  much  char- 
ity and  leniency  as  we  can.  Some  of  them  were  cajoled 
into  the  British  service,  and  not  a  few  forced  into  it  under 
various  pretenses  and  intimidations. 

Rev.  James  H.  Saye,  who  has  spent  his  life  of  over 
seventy  years  in  Georgia  and  South  Carolina,  and  had 
much  intercourse  with  the  survivors  of  the  Revolution  in  his 
day,  made  the  various  classes  of  Tories  a  special  subject  of 
study  and  inquiry,  including  the  influences  that  prompted 
their  unhappy  choice,  and  grouped  them  into  six  principal 
divisions : 

I .  There  were  some  men  in  the  country  conscientiously 
opposed  to  w:ar,  and  every  sort  of  revolution  which  led  to 
it,  or  invoked  its  aid.  They  believed  that  the}'  ought  to 
be  in  subjection  to  the  powers  that  be  ;  and  hence  they  main- 
tained their  allegiance  to  the  British  crown.  The  Quakers 
were  of  this  class.  They  were  then  far  more  numerous  in 
the  Carolinas  than  now.  The}'  were,  religiously,  non-com- 
batants ;  and  the  weight  of  their  influence  naturally  fell  on 
the  wrong  side. 


2.  There  were  many  persons  who  really  knew  nothing 
of  the  questions  at  issue  in  the  contest.  The  world  has 
always  been  cursed  with  too  large  a  stock  of  men  of  this 
class,  whose  daj^s  are  passed  in  profound  ignorance  of  every- 
thing which  requires  an  exertion  of  intellect,  yet  often  the 
most  self-conceited  beings  that  wear  the  human  form — per- 
fect moles,  delighting  in  nothing  so  much  as  dirt  and  dark- 
ness. This  class  followed  their  cunning  and  intriguing^ 
leaders  in  the  Revolution,  and  were  easily  and  naturally 
led  into  the  camp  of  the  Loyalists. 

3.  Another  class  thought  the  Government  of  George 
the  Third  too  good  to  exchange  for  an  uncertainty.  They 
practically  said  :  "  Let  well  enough  alone  ;  a  little  tax  on 
tea  won't  hurt  us  ;  and  as  for  principles  and  doctrines,  leave 
them  to  the  lawyers  and  parsons." 

4.  Another  class  thought  that,  however  desirable  the 
right  of  self-government  might  be,  it  was  then  quite  out  of 
the  question,  unless  his  most  gracious  Majesty  might  be 
pleased  to  grant  it ;  and  they  believed  that  the  fleets  and 
armies  of  Great  Britain  were  perfectly  invincible,  while  de- 
feat and  utter  ruin  to  all  engaged  in  it  must  follow  rebellion 
against  the  King. 

5.  There  was  another  class  who  claimed  no  little  cred- 
it for  shrewdness  and  management ;  who  prided  themselves 
on  being  genteel  and  philosophical.  If  they  ever  had  scru- 
ples of  conscience,  they  amounted  to  very  little ;  if  an}^  re- 
ligious principles,  they  imposed  no  self-denial,  and  forbade 
no  sensual  gratification.  If  they  had  a  spark  of  patriotism 
or  love  for  their  King,  it  could  only  be  kindled  by  fuel  from 
the  Government  coffers.  The  needle  is  no  truer  to  the 
pole  than  were  these  people  to  the  prospect  of  gain.  War 
is  usually  a  great  distributor  of  money  ;  they  wanted  a  lib- 
eral share,  and  wanted  to  acquire  it  easily.  On  the  fall  of 
Charleston,  when  Sir  Henry  Clinton  issued  his  proclama- 
tion, these  money-worshipers  discovered  in  it  a  bow  of 
promise.     Pardon  was  offered  to  all  rebels  with  one  excep- 


tion ;  and  that  exception  embraced  many  persons  of  large 
estates,  and  a  still  greater  number  possessing  comfortable 
means.  Here  the  shadow  of  a  golden  harvest  flitted  befoi'e 
their  longing  eyes.  The  excepted  Whigs  had  property 
enough  to  make  many  rich,  if  informed  against  by  the  zeal- 
ous advocates  of  the  crown ;  or,  if  plundered  and  appropri- 
ated without  taking  the  trouble  of  making  any  report  of  the 
matter.  Feelings  of  humanity  and  tenderness  w6re  not 
cultivated  or  regarded — it  was  enough  that  the  proscribed 
Whigs  had  well-cultivated  farms,  negroes,  horses,  cattle, 
or  other  desirable  property,  and  that  they  had,  in  their  esti- 
mation, justly  forfeited  all  by  rebelling  against  the  King  and 
his  Government.  This  class  became  the  sycophants  to  Royal 
authority,  and  the  army  of  plunderers  during  the  war ;  and 
once  hardened  in  pillaging,  they  soon  became  reckless  of 
life  and  virtue. 

6.  There  was  yet  another  class  which  had  a  large  fol- 
lowing among  the  Tories — a  class,  too,  which  either  on  ac- 
count of  its  numbers,  industry,  or  general  influence,  gave 
character  to  a  large  portion  of  the  whole  fraternity.  When 
a  Revolutionary  soldier  was  asked,  "  What  sort  of  men  were 
the  Tories?"  The  almost  invariable  reply  was,  "A  pack 
of  rogues."  An  eminent  e^cample  of  this  class  was  found 
in  the  person  of  Plundering  Sam  Brown,  already  described, 
a  notorious  robber  years  before  the  war  commenced  ;  yet, 
like  other  men  who  had  wealth  or  the  means  of  acquiring 
it,  he  had  numerous  friends  and  followers.  He  had  the 
shrewdness  to  perceive  that  the  field  was  well  suited  to  his 
tastes  and  habits ;  and  accordingly  raUied  his  retainers, 
joined  Ferguson,  and  for  a  time  proved  an  efficient  ally. 
Though  he  had  been  an  outlaw  for  many  years,  yet  few 
brought  to  the  Royal  standard  a  larger  share  of  talent  for 
cunning  and  inhumanity  for  the  position  assigned  him.  He 
now  enjoyed  the  liberty  of  plundering  under  the  sanction 
of  law  and  authority,  and  of  arresting,  for  the  sake  of  re- 
ward, those  who  had  long  been  known  as  the  stanch  de- 

242  KING '  S  MO  UN  TAIN 

fenders  of  honesty  and  justice.  The  notorious  Captain 
David  Fanning,  Bloody  Bill  Bates,  and  Bloody  Bill  Cun- 
ningham were  men  of  the  same  infamous  character — un- 
feeling, avaricious,  revengeful,  and  bloody. 

Here,  then,  were  the  conscientious  class  of  Loyalists ; 
an  ignorant  class  ;  an  indifferent  class  ;  a  cowardly  class  ; 
a  covetous,  money-making  class  ;  and  a  disappointed,  ro- 
guish, fevengeful  class.  It  must  not  be  supposed  that  these 
characteristics  were  never  combined.  Several  of  them  had 
a  natural  affinitj^  for  each  other,  and  were  almost  invariably 
found  united  in  the  same  person.  The  non-combatants,  the 
cowards,  and  the  indifferent  were  not  found  among  those 
arrayed  on  King's  Mountain  ;  but  Ferguson's  force,  aside 
from  the  young  men  who  had  enlisted  under  his  standard, 
and  a  few  worthy  but  misguided  people,  was  largely  made 
up  of  the  worst  characters  which  war  evolves  from  the  dregs 
of  mankind.* 

In  the  confronting  ranks  was  a  very  different  class  of 
men.  Those  from  the  Holston,  under  Campbell,  were  a 
peculiar  people — somewhat  of  the  character  of  Cromwell's 
soldiery.  They  were,  almost  to  a  man,  Presbyterians.  In 
their  homes,  in  the  Holston  Valley,  they  were  settled  in 
pretty  compact  congregations  ;  quite  tenacious  of  their  re- 
ligious and  civil  liberties,  as  handed  down  from  father  to 
son  from  their  Scotch-Irish  ancestors.  Their  preacher, 
Rev.  Charles  Cummins,  was  well  fitted  for  the  times ;  a 
man  of  piety  and  sterling  patriotism,  who  constantly  exerted 
himself  to  encourage  his  people  to  make  every  needed  sac- 
rifice, and  put  forth  every  possible  exertion  in  defense  of  the 
liberties  of  their  country.  They  were  a  remarkable  body 
of  men,  both  physically  and  mentally.  Inured  to  frontier 
life,  raised  mostly  in  Augusta  and  Rockbridge  Counties, 
Virginia,  a  frontier  region  in  the  French  and  Indian  war,  they 
early  setdedon  the  Holston,  and  were  accustomed  from  their 
childhood  to  border  life  and  hardships  ;  ever  ready  at  the  tap 

'■'  Saye's  Memoir  of  Mcjunkin. 


of  the  drum  to  turn  out  on  military  service  ;  if,  in  the  busiest 
crop  season,  their  wives,  sisters,  and  daughters  could,  in  their 
absence,  plant,  and  sow,  and  harvest.  They  were  better 
educated  than  most  of  the  frontier  settlers,  and  had  a  more 
thorough  understanding  of  the  questions  at  issue  between 
the  Colonies  and  their  mother  country.  These  men  went 
forth  to  strike  their  country's  foes,  as  did  the  patriarchs  of 
old,  feeling  assured  that  the  God  of  battles  was  with  them, 
and  that  He  would  surely  crown  their  efforts  with  success. 
They  had  no  doubts  nor  fears.  They  trusted  in  God — and 
kept  their  powder  dry.  Such  a  thing  as  a  coward  was  not 
known  among  them.  How  fitting  it  was,  that  to  such  a 
band  of  men  should  have  been  assigned,  by  Campbell's 
own  good  judgment,  the  attack  on  Ferguson's  choicest 
troops — his  Provincial  Rangers.  It  was  a  happy  omen  of 
success — literally  the  forlorn  hope — the  right  men  in  ^e 
right  place. 

Lacey's  men,  mostly  from  York  and  Chester  Counties, 
South  Carolina,  and  some  of  those  under  Shelby,  Sevier, 
Cleveland,  Williams,  Winston,  and  McDowell,  were  of  the 
same  character — Scotch-Irish  Presbyterians  ;  but  many  of 
them,  especially  those  from  the  Nolachucky,  Watauga,  and 
lower  Holston,  who  had  not  been  very  long  settled  on  the 
frontiers,  were  more  of  a  mixed  race,  somewhat  rough,  but 
brave,  fearless,  and  full  of  adventure.  They  were  not  a 
whit  less  patriotic  than  the  Virginians  ;  and  were  ever  ready 
to  hug  a  bear,  scalp  an  Indian,  or  beard  the  fiercest  Tories 
wherever  they  could  find  them.  Such,  in  brief,  were  the 
salient  characteristics  of  the  mountaineers,  and  the  men  of 
the  up-country  of  the  Carolinas,  who  were  about  to  engage 
in  deadly  conflict  with  Ferguson  and  his  motley  followers. 

The  decisive  moment  was  now  at  hand,  and  the  moun- 
taineers were  eager  for  the  fray.  Campbell  and  his  corps 
commanders  had  arranged  their  forces  into  two  divisions,  as 
nearly  equal  as  they  could  conveniently  form  them,  each 
party  to  attack  opposite  sides  of  the  mountain.     Campbell 


was  to  lead  his  Virginians  across  the  southern  end  of  the 
ridge,  and  south-east  side,  which  Shelby  designates  as  the 
column  of  the  right  center ;  then  Sevier's  regiment,  Mc- 
Dowell's and  Winston's  battalions,  were  to  form  a  column 
on  the  right  wing,  north-east  of  Campbell,  and  in  the  order 
named,  under  the  command  of  Lieutenant-Colonel  Sevier. 
Of  these,  Winston  had,  it  will  be  remembered,  made  a 
detour  some  distance  to  the  south  of  Ferguson,  in  order  the 
more  promptly  to  gain  the  positioii  assigned  him,  and  per- 
adventure  lend  a  helping  hand  in  retarding  the  enemy, 
should  they  conclude  that  a  hasty  retreat  was  the  better 
part  of  valor. 

Shelb3^'s  regiment  was  to  take  position  on  the  left  of  the 
mountain,  directly  opposite  to  Campbell,  and  form  the  left 
center — Campbell's  left  and  Shelby's  right  coming  together ; 
and  beyond  Shelbj'  were  respectively  Williams'  command, 
including  Brandon,  Hammond,  and  Candler  ;  then  the  South 
Carolinians  under  Lacey,  Hathorne,  and  Steen,  with  the 
remainder  of  the  Wilkes  and  Surry  men  under  Cleveland, 
together  with  the  Lincoln  troops  under  Chronicle  and  Ham- 
bright,  all  under  the  direction  of  Colonel  Cleveland.  By 
this  disposition  was  the  patriot  force  arranged  in  four  col- 
umns— two  on  either  side  of  the  mountain,  led  respectively 
by  Colonels  Campbell  and  Sevier  on  the  right,  and  Shelby 
and  Cleveland  on  the  left.  It  is  reasonable  to  presume  that, 
as  Winston  had  been  detached,  when  a  mile  away,  to  gain 
his  assigned  position  on  the  right,  that  Chronicle  and  Ham- 
bright  were  also  early  ordered  to  gain  the  extreme  left  por- 
tion of  the  mountain,  so  that  these  two  parties  should  meet 
each  other,  and  thus  encompass  the  enemy  on  that  end  of 
the  ridge. 

Before  taking  up  the  line  of  march,  Campbell  and  the 
leading  officers  earnestly  appealed  to  their  soldiers — to  the 
higher  instincts  of  their  natures,  by  all  that  was  patriotic 
and  noble  among  men,  to  fight  like  heroes,  and  give  not  an 
inch  of  ground,  save  only  from  the  sheerest  necessity,  and 


then  only  to  retrace  and  recover  their  lost  ground  at  the 
earliest  possible  moment.  Campbell  personally  visited  all 
the  corps;  and  said  to  Cleveland's  men,  as  he  did  to  all, 
"  that  if  any  of  them,  men  or  officers,  were  afraid,  to  quit 
the  ranks  and  go  home ;  that  he  wished  no  man  to  engage 
in  the  action  who  could  not  fight ;  that,  as  for  himself,  he 
was  determined  to  fight  the  enemy  a  week,  if  need  be,  to 
gain  the  victory.''*  Colonel  Campbell  also  gave  the  neces- 
sary orders  to  all  the  principal  officers,  and  repeated  them, 
so  as  to  be  heard  by  a  large  portion  of  the  line,  and  then 
placed  himself  at  the  head  of  his  own  regiment,  as  the 
other  officers  did  at  the  head  of  their  respective  commands. f 
Many  of  the  men  threw  aside  their  hats,  tying  handker- 
chiefs around  their  heads,  so  as  to  be  less  likely  to  be 
retarded  by  limbs  and  bushes  when  dashing  up  the  moun- 
tain. \ 

At  length  the  several  corps  started  for  the  scene  of  con- 
flict, marching  two  men  deep,  led  on  by  their  gallant  offi- 
cers. Both  the  right  and  left  wings  were  somewhat  longer 
in  reaching  their  designated  places  than  had  been  expected. 
When  Winston's  party  had  marched  about  a  mile,  they 
reached  a  steep  hill,  losing  sight  of  the  other  columns,  and 
evidently  of  King's  Mountain  also.  Some  men  riding  in 
view  directed  them  to  dismount  from  their  horses,  and 
march  up  the  hill,  which  was  immediately  done,  with  the 
anticipation  of  meeting  the  enemy  on  its  summit ;  but,  be- 
fore they  had  advanced  two  hundred  paces,  they  were  again 
hailed,  disabused  of  their  error,  and  directed  to  re-mount 
their  horses  and  push  on,  as  King's  Mountain  was  yet  a 
mile  away.  They  now  ran  down  the  declivity  with  great 
precipitation  to  their  horses,  and,  mounting  them,  rode,  like 
so  many  fox  hunters,  at  an  almost  break-neck  speed, 
through  rough  woods  and  brambles,  leaping  branches  and 

!•  Statement  of  Joseph  Phillips,  one  of  Cleveland's  men. 

t  MS.  narrative  of  Gov.  Campbell. 

t  Mrs.  Ellet's   Women  of  the  Revolution,  iii,   293. 


crossing  ridges,  without  a  proper  guide  who  had  a  personal 
knowledge  of  the  country.  But  they  soon  fell  upon  the 
enemy,  as  good  luck  would  have  it,  at  the  very  point  of 
their  intended  destination. 

It  was  an  erroneous  idea  of  the  South  Carolina  historian, 
Ramsay,  that  Cleveland's  men,  who  had  been  compelled 
to  make  something  of  a  circuit  to  reach  their  appointed  po- 
sition in  the  arrangement  for  the  onslaught,  were  the  first 
to  commence  the  action,  and  the  first  to  receive  a  bayonet 
charge  from  the  enemy.  The  official  report,  to  which 
Cleveland  gave  the  sanction  of  his  signature,  states  that 
Shelby  and  Campbell's  regiments  began  the  attack.  Such 
was  the  nature  of  the  ground,  and  the  thick,  intervening 
foliage  of  the  trees,  that  the  Whigs  were  not  discovered  till 
within  a  quarter  of  a  mile  of  Ferguson ;  when  the  enemy's 
drums  beat  to  arms,  and  the  shrill  whistle  of  their  comman- 
der was  distinctly  heard,  notifying  his  followers  to  repair  to 
their  places  in  the  ranks,  and  be  ready  for  hot  work,  for 
they  well  knew  that  no  child's  play  was  in  reserve  for  them. 

A  select  party  of  Shelby's  men  undertook  to  surprise  a 
picket  of  the  enemy,  of  whose  position  they  had  previous 
knowledge,  and  accomplished  their  purpose  without  firing 
a  gun  or  giving  the  least  alarm.  This  exploit  seems  to 
have  occurred  some  distance  from  the  mountain,  and  was 
hailed  by  the  army  as  a  good  omen.*  Orders  had  been 
given  to  the  right  and  left  wings,  that  when  the  center  col- 
umns were  ready  for  the  attack,  they  were  to  give  the  signal 
by  raising  a  regular  frontier  war-whoop,  after  the  Indian 
stj'le,  and  rush  forward,  doing  the  enemy  all  the  injury 
possible ;  and  the  others  hearing  the  battle-shout  and  the 
reports  of  the  rifles,  were  to  follow  suit.  The  first  firing 
was  heard  on  the  north  side  of  the  mountain  f  —  evidently 
made  by  the  enemy  upon  Shelby's  column,  before  they 
were  in  position  to  engage  in  the  action.     It  was  galling  in 

*  Sharp's  narrative  in  the  American  Pioneer. 

f  Young's  auto-biography  in  the  Orion  magazine. 


its  effect,  and  not  a  little  annoying  to  the  mountaineers, 
some  of  whom,  in  their  impatience,  complained  that  it 
would  never  do  to  be  shot  down  without  returning  the  fire. 
Shelby  cooll}'  replied,  "  press  on  to  your  places,  and  then 
your  fire  will  not  be  lost."  * 

But  before  Shelby's  men  could  gain  their  position,  Col- 
onel Campbell  had  thrown  off  his  coat,  and  while  leading 
his  men  to  the  attack,  he  exclaimed  at  the  top  of  his  voice, 
—  "Here  they  are,  my  brave  boys;  sJwtd  like  h — /,  and 
fight  like  devils!''^  The  woods  immediately  resounded 
with  the  shouts  of  the  line,  in  which  they  were  heartily 
joined,  first  by  Shelby's  corps,  and  then  instantly  caught 
up  by  the  others  along  the  two  wings. f  When  Captain 
De  Peyster  heard  these  almost  deafening  yells  —  the  same 
in  kind  he  too  well  remembered  hearing  from  Shelby's  men 
at  Musgrove's  Mill, — he  remarked  to  Ferguson:  "These 
things  are  ominous  —  these  are  the  d — d  j^elling  boys  !  "]; 
And  when  these  terrific  shouts  saluted  Ferguson's  ears,  he 
expressed  fears  for  the  result. § 

About  the  time  the  Virginians  advanced  to  the  conflict. 
Major  Micajah  Lewis,  with  his  brother,  Captain  Joel  Lewis, 
.  both  of  the  Wilkes  and  Surry  troops,  with  Captain  Andrew 
Colvill,  of  the  Virginia  regiment,  had  been  designated  by 
Colonel  Campbell  to  make  a  dash  on  horseback  upon  the 
British  main  guard,  half  way  up  the  spur  of  the  mountain  ; 
and  having  swept  them  out  of  the  wa}^,  to  fall  back,  dis- 
mount, and  join  the  others  in  the  general  advance.  Here 
the  first  heavy  firing  took  place  between  the  contending 
parties,  the  guard  commencing  it.  The  mountaineers  raised 
the  Indian  war-whoop  and  rushed  upon  the  foe,  who  soon 
retreated,  leaving  some  of  their  men  to  crimson  the  earth 
with  their  blood.  11 

*  Graham's  sketch  in  (he  Southern  Literary  Messenger,  and  Foote's  North  Carolina. 

-f- Statement  of  John  Craig,  one  of  Campbell's  men  ;  conversations  with  Gov.  David 
Campbell,  in  1844. 

X  Statement,  in  1844,  of  Col    George  Wilson. 

$Gov.  Campbell's  statement. 

\  MS.  statement  of  J.  L.  Gray,  and  his  communication  in  the  Rutherford  Enquirer, 
May  24th,  1859. 


One  of  the  mountaineers  came  within  rifle  shot  of  a 
British  sentinel  before  the  latter  perceived  him  ;  on  discov- 
ering the  American,  he  discharged  his  musket,  and  ran 
with  all  his  speed  towards  the  camp  on  the  hill.  This  ad- 
venturous Whig,  who  had  pressed  forward  considerably  in 
advance  of  his  fellows,  quickly  dismounted,  leveled  his  rifle, 
firing  at  the  retreating  Briton,  the  ball  striking  him  in  the 
back  of  the  head,  when  he  fell  and  expired.*  Among  the 
slain  of  the  Virginians  was  Lieutenant  Robert  Edmondson, 
and  John  Beatty,  the  ensign  of  Colvill's  company,  while 
Lieutenant  Samuel  Newell,  also  of  Colvill's  corps,  was 
wounded.  Retiring  down  the  hill,  Newell  passed  Colonel 
Campbell  and  Major  Edmondson  hurrying  on  the  regiment 
into  action. 

But  Newell  was  too  good  a  soldier  to  give  up  at  the  very 
commencement  of  the  fight ;  and  returning  some  distance, 
he  came  across  a  horse,  mounting  which  he  rode  back  to 
the  lines  to  perform  his  share  in  the  conflict. f 

What  terse,  patriotic  utterances  were  made  by  the  sev- 
eral Whig  leaders  to  their  heroic  followers,  have  been  main- 
ly lost  to  history.  Such  words  had  their  intended  effect  at 
the  time :  but  all  were  too  intent  on  the  exciting  scenes  be- 
fore them,  to  treasure  up  in  their  memories  these  outbursts 
of  patriotism.  Cleveland  and  his  men,  while  passing 
around  to  the  left  of  the  mountain,  were  somewhat  retarded 
by  a  swampy  piece  of  ground  then  saturated  with  water ;  \ 
but,  getting  clear  of  this,  Cleveland  discovered  an  advance 
picket  of  the  enemy,  when  he  made  the  following  charac- 
teristic speech  to  his  troops — not,  under  the  circumstances, 
in  a  very  formal  manner  we  may  well  conclude,  but,  most 
likely,  by  piece-meal,  as  he  rode  along  the  lines : 

"My  brave  fellows,  we  have  beaten  the  Tories,  and  we 
can  beat  them  again.     They  are  all  cowards  :  if  they  had 

*This  incident  is  given  on  authority  of  a  writer  in  the  Rutherford  Enquirer^  May  24tll, 
1859  signing  himself  "J.  L.  G." — J.  L.  Gray. 

■J-  Statements  of  Lieutenant  Newell  and  Ensign  Robert  Campbell. 
X  Sharp's  narrative. 


the  spirit  of  men,  tliey  would  join  with  their  fellow-citizens 
in  supporting  the  independence  of  their  country.  When 
you  are  engaged,  you  are  not  to  wait  for  the  word  of  com- 
mand from  me.  I  will  show  you,  by  my  example,  how  to 
fight ;  I  can  undertake  no  more.  Every  man  must  consider 
himself  an  officer,  and  act  from  his  own  judgment.  Fire 
as  quick  as  you  can,  and  stand  your  ground  as  long  as  you 
can.  When  you  can  do  no  better,  get  behind  trees,  or 
retreat ;  but  I  beg  you  not  to  run  quite  off.  If  we  are 
repulsed,  let  us  make  a  point  of  returning,  and  renewing 
the  fight ;  perhaps  we  may  have  better  luck  in  the  second 
attempt  than  the  first.  If  any  of  you  are  afraid,  such  shall 
have  leave  to  retire,  and  they  are  requested  immediately  to 
take  themselves  off."*  But  a  single  man,  John  Judd, 
intimated  a  preference  to  remain  behind — "  to  hold  the 
horses,"  as  he  expressed  it ;  while,  to  redeem  the  honor  of 
the  family,  his  brother,  Rowland  Judd,  went  forward,  and 
acted  the  part  of  a  brave  soldier  in  the  trying  conflict. f 
The  distance  that  Cleveland's  men  had  to  march,  with  the 
swampy  nature  of  their  route,  delayed  them  some  ten  min- 
utes in  reaching  the  place  assigned  them.  But  they  nobly 
made  amends  for  their  delay  by  their  heroic  conduct  in  the 
action.  The  picket  that  they  attacked  soon  gave  way,  and 
they  were  rapidly  pursued  up  the  mountain. 

Doctor  Moore  asserts,  that  it  has  always  been  the  tradi- 
tion in  the  King's  Mountain  region,  that  inasmuch  as  Col- 
onel Lacey  rode  the  express,  and  gave  the  patriots  at  Green 
river  the  true  situation  of  Ferguson,  Colonel  Campbell  gave 
him  the  honor  of  commencing  the  battle — the  friends  of 
Campbell,  Shelby,  Sevier,  Winston,  and  Roebuck  have  for 
each  also  clairned  the  same  honor ;  that  Lacey  led  on  his 
men  from  the  north-western  and  most  level  side  of  the 
mountain,  engaging  the  attention  of  the  foe,  while  Cleve- 


*  Ramsay's  Re^'oluiion  in  South  Carolina^  1785,  ii,  182-83.  This  speech  was  derived 
apparently  from  Colonel  Cleveland  himself. 

fMS.  correspondence  of  Col.  H.  A.  Brown,  formerly  of  Wilkes  County,  N.  C,  now  of 
Maury  County,  Tennessee. 


land  and  the  other  leaders  marched  to  their  respective 
places  of  assignment,  completel}-  encircling  Ferguson's 
army.  *  Judging  from  the  official  report,  this  tradition  has 
no  substantial  foundation  ;  yet  Lacey,  no  doubt,  anticipated 
Cleveland,  and  perhaps  some  of  the  other  regimental  and 
battalion  commandants,  in  engaging  the  attention  of  the 
enemj',  and  taking  part  in  the  conflict. 

Where  Campbell's  men  ascended  the  mountain  to  com- 
mence the  attack  was  rough,  craggy,  and  rather  abrupt-^the 
most  difficult  of  ascent  of  any  part  of  the  ridge  ;  but  these 
resolute  mountaineers  permitted  no  obstacles  to  prevent 
them  from  advancing  upon  the  foe,  creeping  up  the  accliv- 
ity, litde  by  little,  and  from  tree  to  tree,  till  they  were 
nearly  at  the  top — the  action  commencing  at  long  fire,  f 
The  Virginians  were  the  first  upon  whom  Ferguson  ordered 
his  Rangers,  with  doubtless  a  part  of  his  Loyalists,  to  make 
a  fixed  bayonet  charge.  Some  of  the  Virginians  obsti- 
nately stood  their  ground  till  a  few  of  them  were  thrust 
through  the  body ;  but  being  unable,  with  rifles  only,  to 
withstand  such  a  charge,  they  broke  and  fled  down  the 
mountain — further,  indeed,  than  was  necessary.  %  In  this 
rapid  charge,  Lieutenant  Allaire,  of  Ferguson's  corps,  over- 
took an  officer  of  the  mountaineers,  fully  six  feet  high ;  and 
the  British  Lieutenant  being  mounted,  dashed  up  beside  his 
adversary,  and  killed  him  with  a  single  blow  of  his  swOrd.§ 
But  the  British  chargers  did  not  venture  quite  to  the  bottom 
of  the  hill,  before  they  wheeled,  and  quickly  retired  to  the 
summit.  Campbell's  men  ran  across  the  narrow  interven- 
ing valley  to  the  top  of  the  next  ridge.  Colonel  Campbell 
and  Major  Edmondson,  about  half  way  between  their  men 
and  the  enemy,  were  loudly  vociferating  to  their  Virginians 
to  halt  and  rally  ;  and  Lieutenant  Newell,  now  mounted, 
joined  them  in  this  effort.     The  men  were  soon  formed,  and 

*  Li/c  of  Lacey,  17-18. 

f  Statement  of  James  Crow,  of  Campbell's  men. 

J  Statement   of  Lieutenant  Newell. 

^  Lieutenant  Allaires'  narrative  in  the  New  York  Royal  Gazette,  Feb,  24,  1781. 


again  led  up  by  their  heroic  commander  to  renew  the  con- 
test. *  It  was  during  this  attack  that  Lieutenant  Robert 
Edmondson,  the  younger,  of  Captain  David  Beattie's  com- 
pany— for  there  were  two  Lieutenants  of  the  Virginians  of 
that  name— was  wounded  in  the  arm.  He  then  sheltered 
himself  behind  a  tree,  with  one  of  his  soldiers,  John  Craig, 
who  bandaged  up  his  Hmb.  By  this  time  Campbell's  men 
were  successfully  rallied,  and  were  returning  to  the  charge, 
when  Edmondson  exclaimed,  "  Let  us  at  it  again  !"  f  Of 
such  grit  was  Campbell's  Holston  soldiers  composed  ;  and 
as  long  as  there  was  any  fighting  to  be  done  for  their 
countrjr,  and  they  could  stand  upon  their  feet,  they  never 
failed  to  share  largely  in  it. 

Colonel  Shelby  has  briefly  stated  his  knowledge  of  this 
heroic  movement  of  Campbell  and  his  men.  "  On  the  first 
onset,"  says  Shelhy,  "  the  Washington  militia  attempted 
rapidly  to  ascend  the  mountain  ;  but  were  met  by  the  British 
regulars  with  fixed  bayonets,  and  forced  to  retreat.  They 
were  soon  rallied  by  their  gallant  commander,  and  some  of 
his  active  officers,  and  by  a  constant  and  well-directed  fire 
of  our  rifles  we  drove  them  back  in  our  turn,  and  reached 
the  summit  of  the  mountain.  "  ]:  Or,  as  cited  by  Haywood, 
and  understood  to  be  also  from  a  statement  by  Shelby : 
"  Campbell,  with  his  division,  ascended  the  hill,  killing  all 
that- came  in  his  way,  till  coming  near  enough  to  the  main 
body  of  the  enemy,  who  were  posted  upon  the  summit,  he 
poured  in  upon  them  a  most  deadly  fire.  The  enem}^,  with 
fixed  bayonets,  advanced  upon  his  troops,  who  gave  way 
and  went  down  the  hill,  where  they  rallied  and  formed,  and 
again  advanced.  The  mountain  -was  covered  with  flame 
and  smoke,  and  seemed  to  thtmder .''''% 

While  Ferguson's  Rangers  were  thus  employed  in  their 
dashing  bayonet  charge  against  Campbell's  column,  Shelby 

♦  Statements  of  Newell,  and  David  Campbell,  afterwards  of  Campbell's  Station,  Tenn. 

fjohn  Craig's  statement. 

t  Shelby's  letter  to  Col.  Arthur  Campbell.  Oct.  12,  1780. 

g  Haywood's   Tennessee,  71. 


was  pressing  the  enemy  on  the  opposite  side  and  south- 
western end  of  the  mountain  ;  so  that  the  Provincials  found 
it  necessary  to  turn  their  attention  to  this  body  of  the 
mountaineers.  "Shelby,  a  man  of  the  hardiest  make,  stiff 
as  iron,  among  the  dauntless  singled  out  for  dauntlessness, 
went  right  onward  and  upward  like  a  man  who  had  but  one 
thing  to  do,  and  but  one  thought — to  do  it.  "*  But  brave 
as  he  and  his  men  were,  they,  too,  had  to  retreat  before  the 
charging  column,  yet  slowly  firing  as  they  retired.  When, 
at  the  bottom  of  the  hill,  Shelb}^  wanted  to  bring  his  men  to 
order,  he  would  cry  out — "  Now,  boys,  quickly  re-load  your 
rifles,  and  let's  advance  upon  them,  and  give  them 
another  h — 1  of  a  fire  !  "  f 

Thus  were  Campbell's  and  Shelby's  men  hotly  engaged 
some  ten  minutes  before  the  right  and  left  wings  reached 
their  points  of  destination,  when,  at  length,  they  shared  in 
completely  encompassing  the  enemy,  and  joined  in  the 
deadly  fray.  Ferguson  soon  found  that  he  had  not  so  much 
the  advantage  in  position  as  he  had  anticipated  ;  for  the  sum- 
mit of  the  mountain  was  bare  of  timber,  exposing  his  men  to 
the  assaults  of  the  back-woods  riflemen,  who,  as  they 
pressed  up  the  ridge,  availed  themselves  of  the  trees  on  its 
sides,  which  afforded  them  protection,  and  which  served  to 
retard  the  movements  of  the  British  charging  parties.  As 
the  enemy  were  drawn  up  in  close  column  on  the  crest  of 
the  mountain,  they  presented  a  fair  mark  for  the  rifles  of  the 
mountaineers,  f  and  they  suffered  severely  by  the  exposure. 
The  famous  cavalry  Colonel,  Harry  Lee,  well  observed  of 
Ferguson's  chosen  place  for  battle — it  was  "  more  assailable 
by  the  rifle  than  defensible  with  the  bayonet."  § 

Among  the  keenest  of  the  sharp-shooters  under  Shelby 
was  Josiah  Culbertson,  so  favorably  noticed  elsewhere  in 
this  work.     He  had  been  selected  with  others  to  get  pos- 

'-' Bancroft,  x,  338. 

tMS.  statement  of  Gen.  Thomas  Love,  derived  from  Captain  David  Vance. 

X  Shelby's  narrative  in  the  American  Review. 

gLee's  Memoirs  of  the  War,  revised  edition,  N.  Y.,  1872,  p    200, 


1,^   ^ 




session  of  an  elevated  position,  for  wliich  a  Tory  Captain 
and  a  party  under  him  stoutly  contended ;  but  Culbertson 
and  his  riflemen  were  too  alert  for  their  antagonists,  and 
pressing  closely  upon  them,  forced  them  to  retire  to  some 
large  rocks,  where  Culbertson  at  length  shot  their  leader  in 
the  head,  when  the  survivors  fled,  and  soon  after  with  their 
fellows  were  compelled  to  surrender.  * 

Captain  Moses  Shelby,  a  brother  of  the  Colonel,  received 
two  wounds  in  the  action — the  last  dirough  his  thigh  near 
his  body,  disabling  it,  so  that  he  could  not  stand  without  help. 
He  was  assisted  down  to  a  branch,  some  distance  from  the 
foot  of  the  mountain,  and  was  left  with  his  rifle  for  his  de- 
fence, should  he  need  it.  Seeing  one  of  the  soldiers  coming 
down  too  frequently  to  the  branch  under  plea  of  thirst. 
Captain  Shelby  admonished  him  if  he  repeated  his  visit  he 
would  shoot  him  ;  that  it  was  no  time  to  shirk  duty,  f 

But  a  portion  of  the  Tories  had  concealed  themselves 
behind  a  chain  of  rocks  in  that  quarter,  from  which  they 
kept  up  a  destructive  fire  on  the  Americans.  As  Camp- 
bell's and  Shelby's  men  came  in  contact  at  the  south- 
western end  of  the  ridge,  Shelby  directed  Ensign  Robert 
Campbell,  of  the  Viginians,  to  move  to  the  right,  with  a 
small  party,  and  endeavor  to  dislodge  the  enemy  from 
their  rocky  ramparts.  Ensign  Campbell  led  his  men, 
under  fire  of  the  British  and  Tory  lines,  within  forty  steps 
of  them ;  but  discovering  that  the  Whigs  had  been  driven 
down  the  hill,  he  gave  orders  to  his  party  to  post  them- 
selves, as  securely  as  possible,  opposite  to  the  rocks  and 
near  to  the  enemy,  while  he  himself  went  to  the  assistance 
of  Campbell  and  his  fellow  officers  in  bringing  the  regiment 
to  order,  and  renewing  the  contest.  These  directions  were 
punctually  obeyed,  and  the  watching  party  kept  up  so  gall- 
ino-  a  fire  with  their  well-plied  rifle  shots,   as  to  compel 

*  Washington,  Indiana,   Weekly  Register,  Oct.  17,  1839. 

f  Captain    Moses    Shelby's  Statement.      Conversation  with  Maj.  Thomas  H.  Shelby, 
son  of  Governor  Shelby,  in  1S63. 


Ferguson  to  order  a  stronger  force  to  cover  and  strengthen 
his  men  behind  their  rocky  defence  ;  but,  towards  the  close 
of  the  action,  they  were  forced  to  retire,  with  their  demor- 
ahzed  associates,  to  the  north-eastern  portion  of  the  moun- 

The  battle  now  raging  all  around  the  mountain  was  almost 
terrific.  "  When  that  conflict  began,"  exclaimed  the  late 
eloquent  Bailie  Peyton,  of  Tennessee,  "the  mountain 
appeared  volcanic ;  there  flashed  along  its  summit,  and 
around  its  base,  and  up  its  sides,  one  long  sulphurous 
blaze."  f  The  shouts  of  the  mountaineers,  the  peals  of 
hundreds  of  rifles  and  muskets,  the  loud  commands  and 
encouraging  words  of  the  respective  officers,  with  every 
now  and  then  the  shrill  screech  of  Ferguson's  silver 
whistle  high  above  the  din  and  confusion  of  the  battle, 
intermingled  with  the  groans  of  the  wounded  in  every  part 
of  the  line,  combined  to  convey  the  idea  of  another  pande- 

Colonel  Lacey  and  his  gallant  South  Carolinians,  who 
had  seen  hard  service  under  Sumter  on  many  a  well-fought 
field,  rushed  forward  to  share  in  the  contest.  At  the  very 
first  fire  of  the  enemy.  Colonel  Lacey's  fine  horse  was  shot 
from  under  him.  With  a  single  exception  these  South 
Carolinians,  mostly  from  York  and  Chester,  proved  them- 
selves worthy  of  the  high  reputation  they  had  gained  on 
other  fields.  That  exception  was  an  amusing  one — a  man 
who,  at  he£W"t,  was  as  true  a  patriot  as  could  be  found  in  the 
Carolinas  ;  but  who  constitutionally  could  not  stand  the  smell 
of  powder,  and  invariably  ran  at  the  very  first  fire. 
When  about  going  into  action  to  fight  Ferguson  and  his 
Tories,  his  friends,  knowing  his  weakness,  advised  him  to 
remain  behind.  "No,"  said  he,  indignantly,  "I  am 
determined  to  stand  my  ground  to-daj^  live  or  die.'''  True 
to  his  instinct,  at  the  very  first  fire  he  took  to  his  heels,  as 

*  Ensign  CampbeU's  narrative  ;  his  statement,  also,  as  published  in  1823. 
■j-Mr.  Peyton's  speech  in  Congress,  January  i6th,  1834. 


usual.  After  the  battle  was  over,  when  he  returned,  his 
friends  chided  him  for  his  conduct.  "  From  the  first  fire," 
said  he,  by  way  of  apolog)',  "  I  knew  nothing  whatever 
till  I  was  gone  about  a  hundred  and  fifty  yards  ;  and  when 
I  came  to  myself,  recollecting  my  resolves,  I  tried  to  stop ; 
but  my  confounded  legs  zvould  carry  me  off!"  *  But  for- 
tunately his  associates  were  made  up  of  better  material, 
and  rendered  their  country   good  service  on  this  occasion. 

No  regiment  had  their  courage  and  endurance  more 
severely  tested  than  Campbell's.  They  were  the  first  in 
the  onset — the  first  to  be  charged  down  the  declivity  by 
Ferguson's  Rangers — and  the  first  to  rally  and  return  to 
the  contest.  Everything  depended  upon  successfully  rally- 
ing the  men  when  first  driven  down  the  mountain.  Had 
they  have  become  demoralized  as  did  the  troops  at  Gates' 
defeat  near  Camden,  and  as  did  some  of  Greene's  militia 
at  Guilford,  they  would  have  brought  disgrace  and  disaster 
upon  the  Whig  cause.  When  repulsed  at  the  point  of  the 
bayonet,  the  well-known  voice  of  their  heroic  commander 
bade  them  "halt! — return  my  brave  fellows,  and  you  will 
drive  the  enemy  immediately  !  "f  He  was  promptly  obeyed, 
for  Campbell  and  his  officers  had  the  full  confidence  and 
control  of  their  mountaineers.  They  bravely  faced  about, 
and  drove  the  enemy,  in  turn,  up  the  mountain.  In  these 
desperate  attacks,  many  a  hand-to-hand  fight  occurred,  and 
many  an  act  of  heroism  transpired,  the  wonder  and  admir- 
ation of  all  beholders  ;  but  there  were  so  many  such  heroic 
incidents,  where  all  were  heroes,  that  only  the  particulars 
of  here  and  there  one  have  been  handed  down  to  us. 
Ensign  Robert  Campbell,  at  the  head  of  a  charging  party, 
with  singular  boldness  and  address,  killed  Lieutenant 
McGinnis,  a  brave  officer  of  Ferguson's  Rangers.  J 

Captain  William  Edmondson,  also  of  Campbell's  regi- 
ment, remarked  to  John  McCrosky,  one  of  his  men,  that 

*  Moore's  Life  of  Lncey,   i8. 

■{■Statement  of  David  Campbell,  of  Campbell's  Station,  who  shared  in  the  action. 

X  Ramsey's   Tennessee,  240. 


he  was  not  satisfied  with  his  position,  and  dashed  forward 
into  the  hottest  part  of  the  battle,  and  there  received  the 
charge  of  DePeyster's  Rangers,  discharged  his  gun,  then 
clubbed  it  and  knocked  the  rifle  out  of  the  grasp  of  one 
of  the  Britons.  Seizing  him  by  the  neck,  he  made  him  his 
prisoner,  and  brought  him  to  the  foot  of  the  hill.  Returning 
again  up  the  mountain,  he  bravely  fell  fighting  in  front  of 
his  company,  near  his  beloved  Colonel.  His  faithful 
soldier,  McCrosky,  when  the  contest  was  ended,  went  in 
search  of  his  Captain,  found  him,  and  related  the  great 
victory  gained,  when  the  dying  man  nodded  his  satifaction 
of  the  result.  The  stern  Colonel  Campbell  was  seen  to 
brush  awa}^  a  tear,  when  he  saw  his  good  friend  and  heroic 
Captain  stretched  upon  the  ground  under  a  tree,  with  one 
hand  clutching  his  side,  as  if  to  restrain  his  life  blood  from 
ebbing  away  until  the  battle  was  over.  He  heard  the  shout 
of  victory  as  his  commander  and  friend  grasped  his  other 
hand.  He  was  past  speaking;  but  he  kissed  his  Colonel's 
hand,  smiled,  loosed  his  feeble  hold  on  life,  and  the 
Christian  patriot  went  to  his  reward.* 

Lieutenant  Reece  Bowen,  who  commanded  one  of  the 
companies  of  the  Virginia  regiment,  was  observed  while 
marching  forward  to  attack  the  enemy,  to  make  a  hazard- 
ous and  unnecessary  exposure  of  his  person.  Some  friend 
kindly  remonstrated  with  him — "  Why  Bowen,  do  you  not 
take  a  tree — why  rashly  present  )'Ourself  to  the  deliberate 
aim  of  the  Provincial  and  Tory  riflemen,  concealed  behind 
every  rock  and  bush  before  you? — death  will  inevitably 
follow,  if  you  persist."  "Take  to  a  tree,"  he  indignantly 
rephed — "no! — never  shall  it  be  said,  that  I  sought  safety 
by  hiding  my  person,  or  dodging  from  a  Briton  or  Tory 
who  opposed  me  in  the  field."  Well  had  it  been  for  him 
and  his  country,  had  he  been  more  prudent,  and,  as  his 

*  Ramsey's  Tennessee,  240-41 ;  General  John  S.  Preston's  Address  at  the  King's  Moun- 
tain Celebration  in  October,  1855,  p.  60.  Ramsey  states,  that  Captain  Edmondson  received 
a  mortal  wound  in  the  breast,  while  Charles  Bowen,  one  of  his  soldiers,  says  he  was  shot 
in  the  head.     He  may  have  been  shot  both  in  the  head  and  body. 


superiors  had  advised,  taken  shelter  whenever  it  could  be 
found,  for  he  had  scarcely  concluded  his  brave  utterance, 
when  a  rifle  ball  struck  him  in  the  breast.  He  fell  and 
expired.  * 

The  "  red-haired  Campbell— the  cla5'more  of  the  Argyle 
gleaming  in  his  hand,  and  his  blue  eye  glittering  with  a 
lurid  flame,"  wherever  he  was,  dashing  here  and  there 
along  the  line,  was  himself  a  host.  His  clarion  voice  rang 
out  above  the  clash  of  resounding  arms  and  the  peals  of 
successive  riflery,  encouraging  his  heroic  mountaineers  to 
victory.  And  thus  the  battle  raged  with  increased  fury — the 
mountain  men  constantly  gaining  more  confidence,  and 
steadily  lessening  the  number  of  their  foes. 

Nor  were  the  other  columns  idle.  Major  Chronicle 
and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Hambright  led  their  little  band  of 
South  Fork  boys  up  the  north-east  end  of  the  mountain, 
where  the  ascent  was  more  abrupt  than  elsewhere,  save 
where  Campbell's  men  made  their  attack.  As  they  reached 
the  base  of  the  ridge,  with  Chronicle  some  ten  paces  in 
advance  of  his  men,  he  raised  his  militar}^  hat,  crying  out — 
"  Face  to  the  hill  I  "  Fie  had  scarcely  uttered  his  command, 
when  a  ball  struck  him,  and  he  fell ;  and  William  Rabb, 
within  some  six  feet  of  Chronicle,  was  killed  almost  in- 
stantly thereafter.  The  men  steadily  pressed  on,  under  the 
leadership  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Hambright,  Major  Joseph 
Dickson,  and  Captains  Mattocks,  Johnston,  White,  Espey 
and  Martin — a  formidable  list  of  officers  for  so  small  a  body 
of  men  ;  but  th^  all  took  their  places  in  the  line,  and  fought 
with  determined  heroism.  Before  they  reached  the  crest  of 
the  mountain,  the  enemy  charged  bayonet — said  to  have 
been  led  by  DePeyster — first  firing  off"  their  guns,  by  which 
Robert  Henry  supposed  that  Captain  Mattocks  and  John 
Boji'd  were  killed,  and  W^illiam  Gilmer,  a  brother  of  the 

*Gaxi^n'%  Anecdotes,  second  series,  p.  212,  presumably  communicated  for  that  work 
by  Judge  Peter  Johnston,  of  Abingdon,  Virginia,  a  distinguished  officer  of  L&e's  Legion 
during   the   Revolution,  and  the  ancestor  of    the  present  Gen.  Joseph  E.    Johnston,  and 
Hon.  John  W.  Johnston,  United  States  Senator  from  that  State. 


noted  scout,  and  John  Chittim  wounded — the  latter  of 
Captain  Martin's  companj^  was  shot  in  his  side,  making  an 
orifice,  through  which,  according  to  tradition,  a  silk  hand- 
kerchief could  be  dra\vn,  and  yet  he  recovered,  living  to  a 
good  old  age.  * 

One  gallant  young  fellow,  Robert  Henry,  then  in  his 
sixteenth  year,  had  taken  his  position  behind  a  log  stretched 
across  a  hollow  ;  and  was  getting  ready  to  give  the  enemy 
another  shot,  when  the  bayonet  chargers  came  dashing 
along.  One  of  the  enemy  was  advancing  rapidly  on 
young  Henry,  who  was  in  the  act  of  cocking  his  gun,  when 
his  antagonist's  bayonet  glanced  along  Henry's  gun-barrel, 
passing  clear  through  one  of  his  hands,  and  penetrating  into 
his  thigh.  Henrjr,  in  the  melee,  had  shot  the  Torjr,  and 
both  fell  to  the  ground — the  young  Whig  hero  completely 
transfixed.  Henry  was  pretty  well  enveloped  in  powder- 
smoke  ;  but  sad  and  helpless  as  was  his  condition,  he  could 
not  help  observing  that  man}^  of  his  South  Fork  friends 
were  not  more  than  a  gun's  length  ahead  of  the  Tory  bay- 
onets, and  the  farthest  could  not  have  exceeded  twenty  feet, 
when  thej'  fired,  with  deadly  effect,  upon  their  pursuers, 
and  retired  to  the  bottom  of  the  hill,  quickly  re-loading,  and 
in  turn  chasing  their  enemies  up  the  mountain. 

William  Caldwell,  one  of  Henr3''s  companions,  seeing 
his  situation,  pulled  the  bayonet  out  of  his  thigh  ;  but  find- 
ing it  yet  sticking  fast  to  the  young  soldier's  hand,  gave  the 
wounded  limb  a  kick  with  his  boot,  which  loosened  the 
bloody  instrument  from  its  hold.  Henry  suffered  more  in 
the  operation  of  extracting  the  bayonet,  than  when  the 
Briton  made  the  effective  thrust,  driving  it  through  his  hand 
and  into  his  thigh.  Again  upon  his  feet,  he  picked  up  his 
gun  with  his  uninjured  hand,  and  found  it  empty — how,  he 
could  not  tell ;  but  supposed,  as  he  received  the  terrible 
bayonet  thrust,  that  he  must,  almost  instinctively,  have 
touched  the  trigger,  and  discharged  his  rifle,   and  that  the 

*MS.  letter  of  Dr.  C,  L.  Hunter. 


"ball  must  have  cut  some  main  artery  of  his  antagonist,  as 
he  bled  profusely.* 

Another  incident  of  the  battle  :  When  WiUiara  Twitty, 
who  behaved  so  gallantly  in  the  defence  of  Graham's  Fort 
the  preceding  summer,  and  now  serving  among  the  South 
Fork  or  Lincoln  boys,  discovered  that  his  most  intimate 
crony  had  been  shot  down  by  his  side,  he  believed  that  he 
knew  from  the  powder-smoke,  from  behind  which  tree  the 
fatal  ball  had  sped  ;  and  watching  his  opportunity  to  avenge 
the  death  of  his  friend,  he  had  not  long  to  wait,  for  soon  he 
observed  a  head  poking  itself  out  from  its  shelter,  when  he 
quickly  fired,  and  the  Tory  fell.  After  the  battle,  Twitty 
repaired  to  the  tree  and  found  one  of  his  neighbors,  a  well- 
known  Loyalist,  with  his  brains  blown  out.f 

Abram  Forney,  a  brave  soldier  of  Captain  William 
Johnston's  company,  of  the  Lincoln  men,  used  in  after 
years  to  relate  this  incident  of  the  battle :  When  the  contest 
had  become  warm  and  well-maintaingd  on  both  sides,  a 
small  party  of  Whigs,  not  relishing  the  abundance  of  lead 
flying  all  around  them,  and  occasionally  cutting  down  some 
gallant  comrade  at  their  side,  concluded  to  take  temporarj^ 
shelter  behind  an  old  hollow  chestnut  tree — a  mere  shell — 
which  stood  near,  and  from  its  walls  to  pour  forth  a 
destructive  fire  upon  the  enemy.  The  British,  however, 
presently  observed  the  quarter  whence  this  galling  fire 
proceeded,  and  immediately  returned  their  compliments  in 

*MS.  narrative  of  Robert  Henry:  MS.  letter  of  Robert  C.  GiUam,  Sept  2gth,  1858, 
giving  statements  derived  from  an  interview  with  Mr.  Henry, 

Mr.  Henry  was  born  in  a  rail  pen,  in  then  Rowan,  now  Iredall  County,  North  Carolina. 
January  loth,  1765.  Full  of  patriotism,  though  young,  he  shared  in  the  trials  and  perils  of 
the  Revolution,  and  in  due  time  recovered  from  the  severe  wounds  he  received  at  King's 
Mountain.  In  1795,  he  was  one  of  the  party  who  ran  the  boundary  line  between  North 
Carolina  and  Tennessee.  He  subsequently  studied  law,  and  practised  his  profession  many 
years  in  Buncombe  County,  He  served  in  the  House  of  Commons  in  1833  and  1834.  He 
was  a  clear  and  forcible  public  speaker;  and  his  memory  deserves  to  be  held  in  grateful 
remembrance  for  preserving  the  narrative  of  the  King's  Mountain  campaign  and  battle,  so 
frequently  cited  in  this  work.  He  died  in  the  new  County  of  Clay,  North  Carolina, 
January  6th,  1863,  within  four  days  of  attaining  the  patriarchal  age  of  ninety-eight  years, 
and  he  was  undoubtedly  the  last  of  the  heroes  of  King's  Mountain. 

-I"  MS.  correspondence  of  Wm.  L.  Twitty,  grandson  of  William  Twitty. 


the  shape  of  a  few  well-aimed  volleys  at  the  old  shell,  com- 
pletely perforating  it  with  balls,  and  finally  shivering  it  in 

When  Cleveland's  regiment  hastened  to  their  appointed 
place  of  attack,  under  a  heavy  fire  while  on  the  way,  their 
brave  commander  exclaimed,  pointing  significantly  to  the 
mountain,  "Yonder  is  your  enemy,  and  the  enemy  of 
mankind!"  They  were  soon  hotly  engaged  with  the 
Loyalists  lining  the  brow  of  the  eminence  before  them. 
From  the  Colonel  down  to  the  humblest  private  they  all 
heartily  detested  Tories,  and  fought  them  with  a  resolute 
determination  to  subdue  them  at  all  hazards.  They  sought 
all  natural  places  of  protection — trees,  logs,  rocks,  and 
bushes ;  when  Cleveland  would,  ever  and  anon,  vocifer- 
ously urge  onward  and  upward  his  troops — "a  little  nearer 
to  them,  my  brave  men  !  "  And  the  men  of  Wilkes  and 
Surry  would  then  dart  from  their  places  of  concealment,  and 
make  a  dash  for  more  advanced  positions.  Occasionally 
one  of  their  number  would  fall,  which  only  served  to  nerve 
on  the  survivors  to  punish  the  Tories  yet  more  effectually. 

In  one  of  these  bold  and  dashing  forays,  Lieutenant 
Samuel  Johnson,  of  Captain  Joel  Lewis'  company,  was  more 
adventurous  than  prudent,  and  found  himself  and  men  in  a 
most  dangerous  and  exposed  position,  which  resulted  in  the 
loss  of  several  of  his  soldiers,  and  receiving  himself  a  severe 
wound  in  the  abdomen.  Three  bullet  holes  were  made  in 
one  skirt  of  his  coat,  and  four  in  the  other.  After  Lieuten- 
ant Johnson  had  fallen,  and  while  the  contest  was  yet 
fiercely  raging  around  him,  he  repeatedly  threw  up,  his 
hands,  shouting — "-^  Huzza,  boys!"  The  salvation  of  his 
life  was  attributed  to  the  scanty  amount  of  food  he  had  taken 
during  the  three  days  preceding  the  battle,  so  difficult  had 
it  been  to  obtain  it.  f  Of  his  fellow  officers  of  Cleveland's 
regiment  who  were  also  among  the  wounded,  were  Major 

*Dr.  C.  L.  Hunter,  in  IVkeeler  s  North  Carolina^  ii,  245, 

-{-  Pension  statenlent  of  Johnson's  widow,  substantiated  by  surviving  witnesses. 


Micaj ah  Lewis,  Captain  Joel  Lewis,  Captain  Minor  Smith, 
and  Lieutenant  James  M.  Lewis  ;  the  three  wounded  Lewises 
were  brothers,  and  a  noble  triumvirate  they  were.  Daniel 
Siske  and  Thomas  Bicknell  were  among  the  killed  of  the 
Wilkes  regiment,  as  the  manuscript  records  of  that  county 

Many  a  mortal  combat  and  hand-to-hand  rencontre, 
took  place  in  this  part  of  the  line.  Charles  Gordon,  appar- 
ently a  young  officer,  made  a  quick,  bold  movement  into 
the  midst  of  the  enemy,  seizing  a  Tory  officer  by  his  cue, 
and  commenced  dragging  him  down  the  mountain,  when 
the  fellow  suddenly  drew  and  discharged  his  pistol,  break- 
ing Gordon's  left  arm  ;  whereupon  the  latter,  with  his  sword 
in  hand,  killed  the  officer  outright.  The  whole  affair  was 
but  the  work  of  a  moment,  and  was  regarded  at  the  time  as 
an  intrepid  act — a  prodigy  of  valor.  *  David  Witherspoon, 
also  of  Cleveland's  regiment,  in  getting  into  close  quarters, 
discovered  one  of  the  enemy  prostrate  on  the  ground, 
loading  and  firing  in  rapid  succession.  Witherspoon  drew 
his  rifle  on  him  and  fired,  when  the  Red  Coat,  wounded, 
pitched  the  butt  of  his  gun,  in  submission,  towards  his 
antagonist,  throwing  up  his  hands  imploring  mercy  ;  and 
when  Witherspoon  reached  him,  he  found  his  mouth  full  of 
balls,  chewing  them  so  as  to  make  them  jagged,  and  render 
the  wounds  they  might  inflict  more  fatal,  f 

Early  in  the  engagement.  Colonel  Cleveland's  noble 
steed,  "Roebuck,"  received  two  wounds,  and  he  had  to  dis- 
mount ;  yet,  unwieldly  as  he  was,  he  managed  under  the 
excitement  surrounding  him,  to  keep  fully  up  with  his  men, 

'■'MS.  statements  of  Rev.  Z.  H.  Gordon,  and  Mrs  Sarah  C.  Law,  nephew  and  niece  of 
the  hero  of  this  adventure.  Charles  Gordon  was  a  native  of  the  Fredericksburg  region,  in 
Virginia,  early  settling  in  what  subsequently  became  Wilkes  County,  North  Carolina, 
where  he  filled  public  positions,  ^nd  became  a  Major  in  the  militia.  He  married  a  daughter 
of  General  Lenoir,  dying  near  what  is  now  Patterson,  Caldwell  County,  in  that  State, 
March  24,  1799.  at  the  age  of  about  thirty-seven  years.  Charles  G.  McDowell,  of  Shufords- 
ville,  N.  C,  and  the  lady  of  Hon  James  C.  Harper  of  Patterson,  are  his  grand-children, 
and  Mrs.  C.  A.  Cilley.  of  Lenoir,  N    C,  is  his  great  grand-Jaughter. 

•f-MS.  letter  of  Col.  J.  H.  Witherspoon,  a  son  of  David  Witherspoon,  Nov.  25,  1880, 
giving  the  incident  as  related  to  him  by  his  father. 

262  ■     KING'S  MOUNTAIN 

and,  with  rifle  in  hand,  gallantly  fulfilling  all  the  duties  of 
the  occasion  ;  until  he  was  at  length  remounted,  one  of  his 
men  bringing  him  another  horse.  *  An  incident  occurred, 
near  the  close  of  the  contest,  of  an  exciting  character,  and 
which  very  nearl}'  cost  the  heroic  Colonel  his  life.  Charles 
Bowen,  of  Captain  William  Edmondson's  company,  of 
Campbell's  regiment,  heard  vaguely  that  his  brother.  Lieu- 
tenant Reece  Bowen,  had  been  killed,  and  was  much  dis- 
tressed and  exasperated  in  consequence.  On  the  spur  of 
the  moment,  and  without  due  consideration  of  the  danger 
he  incurred,  he  commenced  a  wild  and  hurried  search  for 
his  brother,  hoping  he  might  j^et  find  him  in  a  wounded 
condition  only.  He  soon  came  across  his  own  fallen  Cap- 
tain Edmondson,  shot  in  the  head,  and  dying ;  and  hurry- 
ing from  one  point  to  another,  he  at  length  found  himself 
within  fifteen  or  twenty  paces  of  the  enemy,  and  near  to 
Colonel  Cleveland,  when  he  slipped  behind  a  tree. 

At  this  time,  the  enemy  began  to  waver,  and  show 
signs  of  surrendering.  Bowen  promptly  shot  down  the  first 
man  among  them  who  hoisted  a  flag  ;  and  immediately,  as 
the  custom  was,  turned  his  back  to  the  tree,  to  re-load, 
when  Cleveland  advanced  on  foot,  suspecting  from  the 
wildness  of  his  actions  that  he  was  a  Tory,  and  demanded 
the  countersign,  which  Bowen,  in  his  half-bewildered  state 
of  mind,  had,  for  the  time  being,  forgotten.  Cleveland, 
now  confirmed  in  his  conjectures,  instantljr  levelled  his  rifle 
at  Bowen's  breast,  and  attempted  to  shoot ;  but  fortunately 
it  missed  fire.  Bowen  enraged,  and  perhaps  hardly  aware 
of  his  own  act,  jumped  at  and  seized  Cleveland  by  the 
collar,  snatched  his  tomahawk  from  his  belt,  and  would  in 
another  moment  have  buried  it  in  the  Colonel's  brains,  had 
not  his  armbeen  arrested  by  a  soldier,  named  Buchanan,  who 
knew  both  parties.  Bowen,  now  coming  to  himself,  recol- 
lected the  countersign,  and  gave  it — "  Buford  ;"  when 
Cleveland  dropped  his  gun,  and  clasped  Bowen  in  his  arms 

*  Sharp's  narrative. 


for  joy,  that  each  had  so  narrowly  and  unwittingly  been  re- 
strained from  sacrificing  the  other.*  Well  has  a  noble 
South  Carolina  orator,  a  grandson  of  the  illustrious  Camp- 
bell, described  him — "  Cleveland,  so  brave  and  yet  so 
gentle !"  f 

*Bowen's  MS.  pension  statement,  1832,  then  of  Blount  County,  Tennessee. 
+  Gen.  Jolin  S,  Preston's  King's  Mountain  Address,i855.  p.  60. 



The  Battle.— October  7th,  1780. 

Further  Progress  and  hicidents  of  the  Contest.—Heroic  Act  of  William 
Robertson. —  Thomas  Robertson  Shoots  a  Tricky  Tory. —  Treatment 
of  the  Tory,  Branson,  by  Captain  VVithrow. —  Captain  Lenoir's 
Part  in  the  Battle. —  Captai>t  Robert  Sevier  Wounded. — Alarm 
concerning  Tarleton. — Mistake  caused  by  Campbell' s  Bald  Faced 
Horse. —  Campbell' s  Daring  Reconnoitre. — Anecdote  of  Cleveland. 
—  Colonel  Williajns'  Patriotic  Conduct. —  William  Giles  "Creased" 
— Revives,  and  Renews  the  Fight. —  Thomas  Young's  Relation  of 
Colonel  Williams'  Fall. — Major  Hamjnond's  Desperate  Charge, 
and  singular  Premonition  of  one  of  his  Men. —  Campbell  and  Shelby 
Renewing  the  Attack. — Lieutenant-  Colonel  Hambright  Wounded. — 
Ferguson  s  Pride  and  Recklessness — Attemptitig  to  Escape,  is 
Mortally  Woimded. —  Various  Statements  of  Colonel  Williams' 
Fall. — Furious  Charge  of  Campbell' s  and  Shelby's  Men. — Several 
Corps  drive/t  down  the  Mountain. — British  Over-Shoot  the  Whigs. — 
North  Carolina  Tories  first  to  Weaken. —  Colonel  Graham's  Ujiex- 
pected  Return. — Fergicsoji's  Fall — DePeyster  Vindicated. —  Whigs 
slow  to  Recognize  the  White  Flag. —  Young  Sevier's  Shooting 
Paroxysm. — Efforts  of  Shelby  and  Campbell  io  Quell  the  Firing  of 
the  Whigs. —  Three  Rousing  Cheers  for  the  Great  Victory. — 
Colonel  Williams'  Shot — an  Exciting  Scene. —  Confiicting  Stories 
of  his  Fatal  Charge. — British  Officers  Surrender  their  Swords. — 
Ferguson' s  Heroic  Conduct  in  the  Battle — his  Mistakes. — He'  7vas 
Mortally  Wounded,  not  Killed  Out-Right. —  Curiosity  of  the  Whigs 
to  View  his  Body. — His  Mistresses. — Privations  and  Sufferings  of 
the  Mountaineers.  —  Strength  of  the  Tories — Absence  of  their 
Leaders. —  Their  Fighting  Qualities. — Dismay  of  the  Southern 
British  Commanders. —  Their  Ignorance  of  the  Over-Mountain 
Whig  Settleynents. — Boone  not  on  the  Ca7npaign. — Duration  of  the 
Battle. — Strength  and  Losses  of  the  British  and  Tories. —  Colonels 
fohn  and  Patrick  Moore. — Number  of  Prisoners  Taken. — Errors 
in  Reports  of  Losses. — Names  of  Whigs  Killed  and  Wounded. — 
Death  of  Captain  Sevier. —  William  Moore  Wounded. — Remarkable 
Losses  in    Campbell' s  Regiment. — Captains    Weir  and   Shannon 


Arrive.  — Counting  the  Dead. —  Caring  for  the  Wounded.— Guard- 
ing  the  Prisoners. —  Scarcity  of  Provisions. —  King's  Moimlain 
Souvenirs. —  Heart- Rending  Scenes  of  the  Battle-Field.  —  The 
NiglU  after  the  Action. 

All  the  different  corps  fought  well  at  King's  Mountain. 
The  Burke  and  Rutherford  battalion,  under  McDowell  and 
Hampton,  performed  their  full  share  in  the  engagement. 
Among  Hampton's  men  was  William  Robertson,  who 
during  the  fight  was  shot  completely  through  the  body,  the 
ball  entering  at  one  side,  and  passing  out  at  the  other. 
He  fell  quite  helpless  to  the  ground.  His  wound  was 
apparently  mortal,  and  chancing  to  recognize  one  of  his 
neighbors  lying  down  near  him,  he  anxiously  inquired  if  he, 
too,  was  wounded.  The  reply  was,  that  his  ^un  was  choked, 
or  something  of  the  kind,  and  would  not  fire.  Robertson 
then  gave  him  his  rifle.  "Give  me  your  shot-bag,  also, 
old  fellow,"  he  added,  for  his  own  supply  was  exhausted. 
With  his  own  hand  the  fallen  patriot  delivered  him 
his  ammunition.  But  God  was  better  to  the  wounded 
hero  than  his  fears  ;  for  in  due  time  he  recovered,  and  raised 
a  family,  living  near  Brittain,  in  Rutherford  County,  on 
the  farm  now  occupied  by  William  L.  Twitty.  * 

Thomas  Robertson,  a  brother  of  the  wounded  man,  was 
posted  behind  a  tree,  when  a  Tory  neighbor,  named 
Lafferty,  discovering  him,  called  him  by  name  ;  and  Rob- 
ertson peering  around  the  tree  to  see,  if  he  could,  who  had 
spoken  to  him,  when  a  ball  sped  quickly  past  him,  cutting 
the  bark  of  the  tree  near  his  head.  Robertson  instantly 
fired  back,  before  his  antagonist  could  regain  his  position, 
mortally  wounding  the  tricky  Tory,  who  was  near  enough 
to  exclaim,  and  be  heard,  "Robertson,  you  have  ruined 
me  I"  "  The  d — 1  help  you,"  responded  the  Whig,  and  then 
re-loading  his  rifle,  renewed  the  fight  for  freedom.  A  Tory 
named   Branson    was    wounded  and  fell ;    and  seeing   his 

*Gen.  Lenoir,  in  Wheeler's  North    Carolina,  ii,  107:  MS.  correspondence  of  Wm.  L. 
Twitty,  who  derived  the  incident  from  A.  B.  Long. 


Whig  brother-in-law,  Captain  James  Withrow,  of  Hampton's 
men,  begged  his  relation  to  assist  him.  "Look  to  your 
friends  for  help,"  was  the  response,  evincive  of  the  bitter- 
ness that  existed  between  the  Whigs  and  Loyalists  in  those 
times.  * 

All  of  Captain  Wilham  Lenoir's  company  of  Cleveland's 
regiment,  save  half  a  dozen,  remained  behind  with  the  other 
footmen  at  Green  river,  while  the  Captain  himself  went 
'forward  in  a  private  capacity,  falling  into  line  wherever  he 
Ibund  it  most  convenient — fighting  "  on  his  own  hook." 
He  fell  in  immediately  behind  Winston's  men,  in  front  of 
the  right  hand  column,  where  he  could  see  whfit  was  going 
on  under  McDowell  and  Hampton.  He  says  he  advanced 
the  nearest  way  toward  the  enemy,  under  a  heavy  fire, 
until  he  got  within  thirty  paces.  He  noticed  the  particular 
instance  of  bravery  just  related  of  William  Robertson. 
"About  that  time,"  he  adds,  "I  received  a  slight  wound 
in  my  side,  and  another  in  my  left  arm  ;  and,  after  that,  a 
bullet  went  through  my  hair  above  where  it  was  tied,  and 
my  clothes  were  cut  in  several  places. "f  Participating  in 
this  close  and  hotly-contested  action,  it  is  sufficiently  evident, 
was  no  child's  play  to  those  engaged  in  it. 

Sevier's  column  at  length  gained  the  summit  of  the  hill, 
driving  the  enemy's  left  flank  upon  his  center.  |  But  they 
were  not  subjected  to  any  bayonet  charges — save  a  portion 
of  the  left,  who  hastened  to  the  support  of  Campbell's  regi- 
ment, when  hard  pressed,  and  became  intermingled  with 
them.  Captain  Robert  Sevier  was  mortally  wounded 
towards  the  close  of  the  action,  and  becoming  faint  and 
thirsty,  was  assisted,  by  his  brother,  Joseph  Sevier,  some 
distance  to  a  hollow,  where  there  was  a  spring  of  water. 

The  last  time  Campbell  and  Shelby's  men  were  driven 
down  the  declivity,  the  mountaineers  learned  in  some  way — 

*MS.  correspondence  of  W.  L.  Twitty,  who  adds,   that  the  gun  that  Thomas  Robert- 
son used  in  the  battle,  is  in  the  possession  of  one  of  his  decendants. 

\  General  Lenoir's  narrative,    in  Wheeler's    North    Carolina^  ii,  107. 
\  Official  report  of  the  Colonels  to  General  Gates. 


perhaps  by  deceptive  shouting  on  the  part  of  the  enemy — 
that  Tai-leton  with  his  horse  had  come,  which  seemed  for  the 
moment  to  have  a  dispiriting  efiect ;  when  the  officers,  includ- 
ing Colonel  Sevier,  rode  along  the  fine,  calling  upon  the 
men  to  halt,  assuring  them  that  Tarleton  was  not  there;  and 
if  he  were,  they  could  also  make  him,  like  Ferguson's 
Rangers,  turn  their  backs,  and  flee  up  the  mountain.  This 
time  the  riflerpen  pressed  upon  the  enemy  with  the  utmost 
firmness  and  determination.  * 

In  the  beginning  of  the  action,  Colonel  Campbell's 
famous  Bald  Face,  a  black  horse,  proving  skitdsh,  he  ex- 
changed him  with  his  namesake,  a  Mr.  Campbell,  of  his 
own  corps,  for  a  bay  animal ;  and  Bald  Face  was  sent  to 
the  rear,  and  placed  in  charge  of  the  Colonel's  servant, 
John  Broddy,  who  was  a  tall,  well-proportioned  mulatto, 
and  in  the  distance  very  much  resembled  his  master,  f 
Broddy's  curiosity  prompted  him  to  ride  up  within  two 
hundred  yards  of  the  raging  battle,  sajdng  "  he  had  come 
to  see  what  his  master  and  the  rest  were  doing."  X  Broddy, 
with  his  coat  off,  and  sitting  upon  Bald  Face,  unwittingly 
deceived  Colonels  Shelby  and  Sevier,  Captain  Moses 
Shelby,  and  perhaps  others,  into  the  belief  that  it  was  Col- 
onel Campbell  himself,  intently  watching  at  a  respectful 
distance,  the  progress  of  the  engagement.  But  Campbell  was 
all    this  time   in  the   thickest   of  the  fight,  riding  his    bay 

*  Conversations  with  Colonel  G.  W.  *^eviei ,  son  of  Colonel  Sevier. 

-[-Colonel  Cleveland  was  something  of  a  wag.  While  in  camp,  £■«  route  ior  King's 
Mountain,  the  obese  and  jolly  Colonel  walked  up  to  Campbell's  markee,  and  seeing  him 
at  the  entrance  and  very  much  resembling  his  servant,  pretended  to  mistake  him  for  the 
latter,  and  accosted  him  with—"  Halloo,  Jack,  did  you  take  good  care  of  my  noble  Roe- 
buck when  you  fed  your  master's  horse  ? — Ah  !  I  ask  your  pardon,  Colonel  Campbell  ;  you 
and  your  servant  look  so  much  alike,  led  to  the  mistake!"  The  joke  was  received,  as  it 
was  given,  in  the  best  of  good  humor,  and  was  much  enjoyed  among  the  officers.  This 
anecdote  was  related  to  the  author  in  1843.  by  Benjamin  Starritt,  of  Fayette  County,  Tenn., 
who  was  one  of  Lee's  Legion  in  the  Revolution,  and  Lee's  and  Campbell's  corps  fought 
together  at  the  battle  of  Guilford  ;  and  Starritt  personally  knew  Cleveland,  and  had  two 
brothers-in-law  under  Sevier  at  King's  Mountain. 

I  No  doubt  others  of  the  sons  of  Africa,  beside  Broddy,  aided  in  menial  occupations 
on  the  campaign.  It  is  worthy  of  record,  that  "  there  is  a  tradition  in  the  King's  Moun- 
tain region,"  says  Colonel  J.  R.  Logan,  "  that  something  more  than  a  dozen  negroes  were 
under  arms  in  the  battle,  in  behalf  of  liberty,  and  demeaned  themselves  bravely." 


horse  till  he  became  exhausted,  when  he  abandoned  him, 
and  was  the  remainder  of  the  battle  at  the  head  of  his  men, 
on  foot,  with  his  coat  off  and  his  shirt  collar  open.* 

It  was  during  that  critical  period  of  the  battle,  when  the 
final  rally  of  the  Virginians  had  been  made,  and  after  Col- 
onel Campbell's  horse  had  given  out,  that  the  intrepid  chief 
ascended  the  mountain  on  foot,  several  paces  in  advance  of 
his  men  ;  and,  having  reached  the  point  of  the  ridge,  he 
climbed  over  a  steep  rock,  and  took  a  view  of  the  position 
of  the  enemy  within  a  very  short  distance  of  their  lines,  and 
discovered  that  they  were  retreating  from  behind  the  rocky 
i-ampart  they  had  hitherto  occupied  with  so  much  security 
to  themselves,  and  injury  to  the  mountaineers,  when  he 
rejoined  his  men  unharmed,  f 

Colonel  Williams,  who  felt  offended  that  his  merit — and 
his  superior  rank,  also — had  not  been  recognized  by  the  other 
Colonels,  at  first  refused  to  take  part  in  the  battle  ;  J  but  he 
could  not,  after  all,  when  the  pinch  came,  resist  so  glorious 
an  opportunity  to  do  his  country  service,  and  redeem,  it 
may  be,  the  errors  of  the  past.  Williams  wheeled  chival- 
rously into  line  on  the  left  of  Shelby,  exclaiming  to  his 
followers,  "  Come  on,  my  boj's — the  old  wagoner  never  yet 
backed  out. "§     Though  his   numbers  were   few,  Williams 

*  Statements  of  Lieutenant  Newell  and  James  Snodgrass,  of  Campbell's  regiment,  and 
Thomas  Maxwell  of  Shelby's  men,  together  with  the  published  account  of  General  John 
Campbell,  in  the  Richmond  Enquirer,  June  24,  1823,  with  the  appended  letter  of  "J.  C," 
dated  Washington  County,  Virginia,  June  13,  1823;  corroborated  by  statements  of  Ex- 
Governor  David  Campbell  of  Abingdon,  Va.,  to  the  author.  General  Campbell  asserts  in 
his  article,  that  Andrew  Evins  also  declared  that  Colonel  Campbell  rode  his  bay  horse  in 
the  action  until  he  gave  out. 

William  Moore,  Israel  Hayter,  James  Keyes,  Benjamin  White,  William  Anderson,  of 
Campbell's  regiment;  Jacob  Norris,  James  Pierce,  and  Gideon  Harrison  of  Sevier's;  and 
Joseph  Phillips,  of  Cleveland's,  also  testify  to  the  fact  that  it  was  Colonel  Campbell's  bay, 
not  his  bald  faced  horse  that  he  rode  in  the  action.  Much  confusion  grew  out  of  the 
mistake  that  it  was  Buid  Fare  that  Campbell  rode  on  the  field,  and  on  which  he  was  supposed 
to  have  retired  to  a  place  of  safety  long  before  the  conclusion  of  the  battle.  Several  o^ 
Campbell's  own  men,  and  those  who  were  nearest  to  him.  and  had  the  best  means  of  know- 
ing, unite  in  declaring  that  this  is  a  grievous  error.  See.  also.  Southern  Literary  Messenger 
September,  1845;  and  Foote's  Sketches  of  North   Carolina.  271. 

f  Ensign  Robert  Campbell's  narrative  ;  Holston  Intelligencer^  October,  1810. 

t  MS.  letter  of  Dr.  M.  A.  Moore  to  Dr.  J.  H.  Logan. 

\  Dr.  C    L.  Hunter,  in  Wheeler's  North  Carolina,  ii,  246, 


had  several  good  and  experienced  partisan  officers — 
Brandon,  Hammond,  Hayes,  Roebuck  and  Dillard  among 
them  ;  and  their  intrepid  example  had  an  inspiring  effect 
upon  the  men  under  their  command. 

Among  the  ' '  bravest  of  the  brave ' '  who  fought  under 
Williams- and  Brandon,  was  William  Giles,  some  of  whose 
heroic  adventures  in  the  Union  region  in  South  Carolina, 
have  already  been  related.  The  battle-field  of  King's 
Mountain  was  a  fitting  scene  for  such  a  fearless  spirit. 
During  the  contest,  into  which  he  entered  with  his  accus- 
tomed zeal,  he  received  a  ball  through  the  back  of  his  neck, 
and  fell  as  if  dead.  William  Sharp,  his  fellow-hero,  his  neigh- 
bor, his  friend  and  relation,  stopped  a  moment,  brushed  away 
a  tear  from  his  eye,  saying — •'  Poor  fellow,  he  is  dead  ;  but 
if  I  am  spared  a  little  longer,  I  will  avenge  his  fall."  After 
firing  his  rifle  several  times.  Sharp,  to  his  astonishment,  saw 
Giles  raise  himself  up,  rest  upon  his  elbow,  and  commence 
loading  his  gun.  He  had  got  creased,  as  it  is  said  of  horses 
when  shot  through  the  upper  part  of  the  neck,  and  falling 
helpless  to  the  ground,  after  a  while  recover.  Giles  was  soon 
upon  his  feet  again,  fought  through  the  battle,  and  lived  to 
a  good  old  age.  His  son  of  the  same  name,  in  after  years 
represented  both  York  and  Union  Counties  in  the  South 
Carolina  Legislature.* 

Thomas  Young,  also  under  Williams  and  Brandon,  re- 
lates a  touching  incident.  An  uncle  of  his,  one  McCrarj-, 
was  then  a  prisoner  with  the  British  on  Edisto  Island  ;  and 
his  wife,  for  fear  her  husband  would  be  hung,  compelled 
her  youthful  son,  Matthew  McCrary,  to  turn  out  and  join 
Ferguson.  "Just  after  we  had  reached  the  top  of  the  hill," 
says  Young,  "Matthew  discovered  me,  and  ran  from  the 
British  line,  and  threw  his  arms  around  me  for  jo}^  I  told 
him  to  get  a  gun  and  fight ;  he  said  he  could  not ;  when  I 
bade  him  let  me  go,  that  I  might  fight."  Whether  young 
McCrary  found  a  gun,  and  shared  in  the  engagement,  we 

"■'  MS.  notes  of  Hon.  Daniel  Wallace. 

270  KING '  S  MO  UN  TAIN 

are  not  informed  ;  but  certain  it  is,  the  lad  had  thrown 
away  his  British  rifle,  and  the  enemj'-  had  one  less  follower 
among  their  number.  * 

"  I  well  remember,"  continvies  Young,  "  how  I  behaved. 
Ben  Rollings  worth  and  I  took  right  up  the  side  of  the 
mountain,  and  fought  our  way,  from  tree  to  tree,  up  to  the 
summit.  I  recollect  I  stood  behind  one  tree,  and  fired 
until  the  bark  was  nearljr  all  knocked  off,  and  my  eyes 
pretty  well  filled  with  it.  One  fellow  shaved  me  pretty 
close,  for  his  bullet  took  a  piece  out  of  mj^  gun-stock. 
Before  I  was  aware  of  it,  I  found  myself  apparently  between 
my  own  regiment  and  the  enemy,  as  I  judged  from  seeing 
the  paper  which  the  Whigs  wore  in  their  hats,  and  the  pine 
twigs  the  Tories  wore  in  theirs,  these  being  the  badges  of 

"  On  the  top  of  the  mountain,"  Mr.  Young  adds,  "in 
the  thickest  of  the  fight,  I  saw  Colonel  Williams  fall,  and  a 
braver  or  a  better  man  never  died  upon  the  field  of  battle. 
I  had  seen  him  but  once  before,  that  day — it  was  in  the 
beginning  of  the  action,  as  he  charged  by  me  at  full  speed 
around  the  mountain.  Toward  the  summit  a  ball  struck 
his  horse  under  the  jaw,  when  he  commenced  stamping  as 
if  he  were  in  a  nest  of  yellow  jackets.  Colonel  Williams 
threw  the  reins  over  the  animal's  neck — sprang  to  the 
ground,  and  dashed  onward.  The  moment  I  heard  the 
cry  that  Colonel  Williams  was  shot,  I  ran  to  his  assistance, 
for  I  loved  him  as  a  father,  he  had  ever  been  so  kind  to  me, 
almost  always  carrying  a  cake  in  his  pocket  for  me  and  his 
little  son,  Joseph.  They  carried  him  into  a  tent,  and 
sprinkled  some  water  in  his  face.  As  he  revived,  his  first 
words  were,  '  For  God's  sake,  boys,  don't  give  up  the  hill !' 
I  remember  it  as  well  as  if  it  had  occurred  yesterday.  I 
left  him  in  the  arms  of  his  son  Daniel,  and  returned  to  the 
field  to  avenge  his  fall."f 

"■'  Saye's  Memoir  o/  Mcjunkin. 

+  Narrative  of  Major  Thomas  Young,  drawn  up  by  Col.  R.  J.  Gage,  of  Union  County, 
S.  C,  and  published  in  the  Orioit  magazine,  Oct.  1843. 


In  one  of  the  charges  on  the  enemy,  Major  Hammond, 
of  WilHams'  corps,  full  of  his  usual  clash  and  intrepidity, 
broke  through  the  British  lines  with  a  small  squad  of  brave 
followers,  when  the  enemy  attempted  to  intercept  their 
return.  Seeing  his  own  and  soldiers'  perilous  situation, 
Hammond  instantly  faced  about,  ordering  his  men  to  join 
him  in  cutting  their  way  back,  which,  by  dint  of  the  most 
heroic  efforts,  they  successfully  effected.  * 

A  singular  incident  occurred,  which  Major  Hammond 
used  to  relate  in  connection  with  the  contest.  One  of  the 
men  in  his  command  had  fought  in  many  a  battle,  and  had 
always  proved  himself  true  as  steel.  On  the  night  preced- 
ing the  action — in  some  snatch  of  sleep,  perhaps,  while  on 
the  march — he  had  a  presentiment,  that  if  he  took  part  in 
the  impending  battle  he  would  be  killed.  Before  reaching 
King's  Mountain,  he  concluded  that  he  would,  for  once  in 
his  life,  be  justifiable,  under  the  circumstances,  in  skulk- 
ing from  danger,  and  thereby,  as  he  believed,  preserve  his 
life  for  future  usefulness  to  his  countrjr.  So  he  stole  ofl', 
and  hid  himself.  He  was  missed,  when  an  orderly  went 
in  search  of  him,  and  finally  discovered  him  in  an  out-of- 
the-way  place,  all  covered  up,  head  and  body,  with  his 
blanket.  Though  taken  to  the  front,  he  soon  found  means 
to  absent  himself  again  ;  but  his  lurking  place  was  again 
found,  and  he  once  more  hurried  to  the  front,  just  before 
the  final  attack.  He  evidently  now  made  up  his  mind  to 
do  his  duty,  and  let  consequences  take  care  of  themselves ; 
and  during  the  action  he  had  posted  himself  behind  a  stump 
or  tree,  and  evidently  peering  his  head  out  to  get  a  shot, 
received  a  fatal  bullet  in  his  forehead,  killing  him  instantly. 
Subsequently  learning  the  cause  of  his  singular  conduct  in 
endeavoring  to  evade  taking  part  in  the  contest.  Major  Ham- 
mond regretted  that  he  had  not  known  it  at  the  time,  so  that 
he  could  have  respected  the  soldier's  conscientious  convic- 

*  Obituary  notice  of  Col.  Samuel  Hammond,  September,  1S42,  written  by  his  son-in- 
law,  James  H.  R.  Washington,  corroborated  by  Mrs.  Washington  to  the  author,  as  related 
to  her  by  her  father. 

272  KING '  S  MO  UN  TAIN 

tions  ;  but,  at  the  moment,  suspecting  that  he  was  under  the 
cowardly  influence  of  fear,  the  Major  could  not,  and  would 
not,  tolerate  anything  of  the  kind  in  his  command.  * 

And  thus  the  battle  waged  with  alternate  advances  and 
repulses,  the  columns  of  Campbell  and  Shelby  having  been 
two  or  three  times  dri^•en  down  the  mountain  at  the  point 
of  the  bayonet — the  last  one  almost  a  rout;  but  the  brave 
mountaineers  had  learned  from  experience  when  to  stop  in 
their  retreat,  face  about,  and  push  back  their  assailants. 
In  this  last  desperate  repulse,  some  of  the  Whig  riflemen 
were  transfixed,  while  others  fell  head-long  over  the  cliffs. f 
When  one  column  would  drive  the  enemy  back  to  their 
starting  place,  the  next  regiment  would  raise  the  battle-cry 
— "  Come  on,  men,  the  enemy  are  retreating;"  and  when 
the  Provincials  and  Lo3'alists  would  make  a  dash  upon  this 
party  of  mountain  men,  and  would,  in  turn,  be  chased 
back  by  them,  then  the  other  Whig  riflemen,  who  had  just 
before  been  driven  down  the  hill, would  now  advance,  return- 
ingthe  shout — "Come  on,  men,  the  enemy  are  retreating  !"  J 
Thus,  as  one  of  Campbell's  men  expressed  it — "When  the 
enem}'  turned,  we  turned."  §  "Three  times,"  says  Mills' 
Statistics,  "  did  the  Britons  charge  with  bayonet  clown  the 
hill ;  as  often  did  the  Americans  retreat ;  and  the  moment 
the  Britons  turned  then*  backs,  the  Americans  shot  from 
behind  every  tree,  and  every  rock,  and  laid  them  prostrate." 
It  was  the  happy  fruition  of  Shelby's  perpetual  battle  cry — 
"  Never  shoot  until  you  see  an  enemy,  and  never  see  an 
enemy,  without  bringing  him  down."  | 

By  this  time  the  two  wings  of  the  mountaineers  were 
pressing  the  enemy  on  both  sides  of  the  mountain,  so  that 
Ferguson's  men  had  ample  employment  all  around  the  emi- 

*  Dr.  A.   L.    Hammond's  sketch    of   King's  Mountain   battle,  in    Charleston    Courier, 
June  21,  1859, 

i  Hamilton's  Republic  of  the  United  States,  ii,  161. 

X  General  Graham's  narrative. 

g  James  Crow's  statement. 

II  ^iX^s' National  Register,  iv,  403. 


nence,  without  being  able  to  repair  to  each  other's  relief, 
however  much  they  needed  it.  At  length  the  Provincial 
Rangers  and  their  fellow  chargers,  led  by  the  intrepid  De- 
Peyster,  began  to  grow  weary  and  discouraged — steadily 
decreasing  in  numbers,  and  making  no  permanent  inroads 
upon  theJr  tireless  opposers,  who,  when  beaten  down  the 
mountain,  did  not  choose  to  stay  there  simply  to  oblige 
their  enemies.  From  the  -  south-western  portion  of  the 
ridge,  the  Rangers  and  Tories  began  to  give  way,  and  were 
doggedly  driven  by  Campbell  and  Shelby,  aided  by  some  of 
Sevier's  men,  and  perhaps  others,  intermingled  with  them. 

Near  the  close  of  the  action,  Lieutenant-Colonel  Ham- 
bright,  while  encouraging  his  men,  received  a  shot  through 
his  thigh,  making  an  ugly  wound — the  ball  passing  between 
the  thigh  bone  and  his  saddle,  cutting  some  arteries,  and 
filling  his  boot  with  blood.  Discovering  that  the  Colonel 
was  wounded,  Samuel  Moore,  of  York  County,  South  Caro- 
lina, proposed  to  assist  him  from  his  horse,  which  he  declined, 
assigning  as  a  reason,  that  it  would  distract  the  attention  of 
his  men,  and,  as  he  did  not  feel  sick  nor  faint,  he  preferred 
to  remain  with  them  as  long  as  he  could  sustain  himself  in 
the  saddle.  Then  pressing  forward,  he  exclaimed  in  his 
broken  German:  "  Huzza,  my  prave  poys,  fight  on  a  few 
minutes  more,  and  te  battle  will  be  over!"  Hearing 'this 
encouraging  shout,  Ferguson,  it  is  said,  responded  :  "Huzza, 
brave  boys,  the  day  is  our  own  !"  *  It  was  among  the  last 
of  the  British  leader's  utterances  to  animate  his  men  in  a 
hopeless  struggle. 

Dr.  Ramsay,  in  his  History  of  Tennessee,  asserts  that  the 
Tories  had  begun  to  show  flags  in  token  of  surrender,  even 
before  Ferguson  was  disabled,  seeing  which,  he  rode  up,  in 
two  instances,  and  cut  them  down  with  his  sword.     It  was 

=^MS  correspondence  of  the  venerable  Abraham  Hardin,  who  knew  Colonel  Ham- 
bright,  and  of  Gill.  Hambright,  his  descendant.  Colonel  Hambright,  during  the  action, 
had  his  hat  perforated  with  three  bullet  holes,  and  this  memorial  of  the  battle  was  long 
retained  in  the  family.  Though  his  wound  was  a  serious  one,  he  soon  recovered  ;  but  as 
some  of  the  sinews  of  his  thigh  were  cut,  he  ever  after  had  a  halt  in  his  walk. 

274  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

suggested  to  him  by  some  of  his  officers,  that  it  was  useless 
to  prolong  the  contest,  and  throw  their  lives  awajr.  The 
slaughter  was  great,  the  wounded  were  numerous,  and 
further  resistance  would  be  unavailing.  But  Ferguson's 
proud  heart  could  not  think  of  surrendering ;  he  despised 
his  enemies,  and  swore  "he  never  would  yield  to  such  a 
d — d  banditti."  Captain  DePeyster,  his  second  in  com- 
mand, having  the  courage  of  his  convictions,  and  "  con- 
vinced from  the  first  of  the  utter  futihty  of  resistance  at  the 
point  selected,  advised  a  surrender,  as  soon  as  he  became 
satisfied  that  Ferguson  would  not  fall  back  upon  the  (sup- 
posed) rapidly  advancing  relief.  He  appears  to  have  urged 
the  only  course  which  could  have  saved  the  little  arm}^, 
viz:  a  precipitate,  but  orderly,  retreat  upon  less  exposed 
points,  for  the  purpose  of  assisting  the  General-in- 
Chief  in  his  attempt  to  re-inforce  the  detachment — so  im- 
portant to  future  and  ultimate  success — by  drawing  back, 
nearer  to  some  point,  which  alone,  re-inforcements  could 
reach,  and  where,  alone,  they  could  be  made  available. 
This  advice  was  founded  on  what  the  event  proved :  that 
the  British  were  about  to  be  slaughtered  to  no  purpose,  like 
'  ducks  in  a  coop,'  without  inflicting  any  commensurate  loss. 
The  event  proved  the  justice  of  this  counsel."  * 

At  length,  satisfied  that  all  was  lost,  and  firmlj^  resolving 
not  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  despised  "Back-Water  men," 
Ferguson,  with  a  few  chosen  friends,  made  a  desperate  at- 
tempt to  break  through  the  Whig  lines,  on  the  south-east- 
ern side  of  the  mountain,  and  escape.  The  intrepid  British 
leader  made  a  bold  dash  for  life  and  freedom,  with  his  sword 
in  his  left  hand,  cutting  and  slashing  till  he  had  broken  it. 
Colonel  Shelby  mentions  the  sword  incident,  and  Benjamin 
Sharp  corroborates  it ;  while  several  others  unite  in  testify- 
ing to  the  fact  that  he  spurred  his  horse,  and  rushed  out, 
attempting  to  escape,  f      Before  the  action   commenced,  it 

-'■Gen.  DePeyster,  in  Historical  Magazine^  March,  1869,  195. 

-{- Shelby's  narrative  \n  American  Review,  Shelby,  ascited  in  Haywood's  Tennessee, 
71  ;  Sharp's     statement   in    American  Pioneer,    February,    1843;     MS.   account  of  King's 

AND  ITS  HEROES.  '       275 

was  well  known  that  Ferguson  wielded  his  sword  in  his  left 
hand,  and  that  he  wore  a  light  or  checked  duster  or  hunt- 
ing-shirt for  an  outer  garment,  and  the  admonition  had 
gone  from  soldier  to  soldier — "  Look  out  for  Ferguson  with 
his  sword  in  his  left  hand,  wearing  a  light  hunting-shirt !"  * 

One  of  Sevier's  men,  named  Gilleland,  who  had  received 
several  wounds,  and  was  well-nigh  exhausted,  seeing 
the  advance  of  Ferguson  and  his  part}-,  attempted  to  arrest 
the  career  of  the  great  leader,  but  his  gun  snapped ;  when 
he  called  out  to  Robert  Young,  of  the  same  regiment — 
"  There'^  Ferguson — shoot  him  !''  f  '  "  I'll  try  and  see  what 
Sweet-Lips  can  do,"  muttered  Young,  as  he  drew  a  sharp 
sight,  discharging  his  rifle,  when  Ferguson  fell  from  his 
horse,  and  his  associates  were  either  killed  or  driven  back. 
Several  rifle  bullets  had  taken  effect  on  Ferguson,  appar- 
ently about  the  same  time,  and  a  number  claimed  the 
honor  of  having  shot  the  fallen  chief — among  them,  one 
Kusick,  another  of  Sevier's  sharp-shooters.  X  Certain  it  is, 
that  Ferguson  received  six  or  eight  wounds,  one  of  them 
through  the  head.  He  was  uriconscious  when  he  fell,  and 
did  not  long  survive.  It  was  in  the  region  of  Sevier's  col- 
umn that  he  received  his  fatal  shots  ;  and  not  very  far,  it 
would  seem,  from  where  Colonel  Shelby  had  posted  Ensign 
Robert  Campbell  to  watch  the  motions  of  the  enemy  so 
strongly  ensconced  behind  the  range  of  rocks. 

Ensign  Campbell  gives  us  some  further  insight  into 
Ferguson's  attempt  at  flight.   It  was,  as  he  represents,  when 

Mountain  by  an  unknown  member  of  Campbell's  corps;  Hon.  Wm.  C.  Preston's  Defence 
of  Colonel  Campbell,  1822;  MS.  correspondence  of  Ex-Governor  David  Campbell,  and  Dr. 
A.  Q.  Bradley:  conversations  with  Colonel  Thomas  H.  Shelby.  Mills,  in  his  Statistics  of 
South  Carolina,  asserts  thai  "Ferguson  attempted  to  force  his  way ;  "  and  Wheeler's 
North  Carolina  declares  that  "  he  made  a  desperate  move  to  break  through  the  American 
lines."  The  Political  Magazine,  for  February,  1781,  states  while  "  advancing  to  reconnoitre 
the  enemy,  who  were  retiring,  he  fell  by  a  random  shot." 

*  Statements  of  James  and  George  W.  Sevier;  Silas  McBee,  Colonel  George  Wilson, 
Colonel  Thomas  H.  Shelby,  and  others.  Mrs.  Ellet,  in  her  Women  of  the  Revolution, 
iii,  293,  speaks  of  the  check-shirt  disguise. 

t  Gilleland  recovered  from  his  wounds,  and  lived  many  years. 

}  Conversations  with  James  and  George  W.  Sevier,  and  Colonel  George  Wilson ;  and 
MS.  correspondence  of  Dr.  J.  G.  M.  Ramsey. 


Colonels  Campbell  and  Shelby  were  pressing  the  enemy 
from  the  south-western  extremity  of  the  mountain,  and  Fer- 
guson's men  were  falling  fast  on  every  hand.  He  had  sent 
DePeyster  with  the  Provincial  Rangers  to  strengthen  the 
front;  and  in  reaching  the  point  assigned  him,  he  had  to 
pass  through  a  blaze  of  riflerj',  losing  many  of  his  men  in 
the  effort.  Ferguson's  small  cavalry'  corps,  under  Lieuten- 
ant Taylor — consisting  of  twenty  men,  made  up  from  his 
Rangers — were  ordered  to  mount,  and  press  forward  to  aid 
DePeyster  in  his  heroic  purpose  ;  but  as  fast  as  thej'  mount- 
ed, they  were  mostly  picked  off  by  the  Whig  marksmen. 
Driven  to  desperation,  Ferguson  endeavored  to  make 
his  escape,  accompanied  by  two  Loyalist  Colonels,  all 
mounted,  who  charged  on  that  part  of  the  line  which 
the};^  thought  was  most  vulnerable — "  in  the  quarter  where 
Sevier's  men  were,"  as  related  by  James  Sevier,  one  of 
their  number,  and  Benjamin  Starritt,  derived  fmm  his  two 
brothers-in-law,  who  served  in  Sevier's  regiment ;  and,  as 
Ensign  Campbell  stated,  "  on  that  part  of  the  line  defended 
by  his  party."  As  soon  as  Ferguson  reached  the  Whig 
front,  he  fell ;  and  the  other  two  officers,  attempting  to 
retreat,  soon  shared  the  same  fate.  One  of  these  Tory 
officers  killed  was,  doubtless.  Colonel  Vezey  Husband,  and 
the  other — not  a  Colonel,  as  Ensign  Campbell  supposed — 
but  Major  Daniel  Plummer. 

Some  accounts  represent  that  Colonel  Williams  sought, 
a  personal  encounter  with  Ferguson,  determined  to  kill  him, 
or  die  in  the  attempt.  This  is  more  romantic  than  prob- 
able. It  could  hardly  have  been  so,  since  Ferguson  was 
shot  some  distance  from  where  Williams  must  have  received 
his  wounds,  and  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  hill ;  and  the 
accounts  pretty  well  agree,  that  Williams  was  wounded  at 
the  very  close  of  the  conflict,  when  the  enemy  had  begun 
to  exhibit  their  white  flags,  *  while  Ferguson  was  shot  from 

♦Mills,  in  his   Statistics  of  South  Carolina,  states,    that   Colotiel   Williams  "'had    the 
good  fortune  to  encounter  personally  in  battle  Colonel  Ferguson,  who  attempted  to   force 


his  horse  some  little  time  before.  The  suggestion  made  by 
Colonel  Hill,  in  his  manuscript  narrative,  that  Colonel 
Wilhams  was  shot  by  some  of  Lacey's  men,  who  were  in- 
imical to  him,  and  had  sworn  to  take  his  life,  is  hardly 
credible ;  and,  for  the  honor  of  humanity,  we  are  con- 
strained to  discard  so  improbable  and  unpatriotic  a  supposi- 

The  last  desperate  grapple  between  CampbelFs  men — 
assisted  by  Shelby's — and  the  enemy,  just  before  the  close 
of  the    engagement,  lasted   twenty  minutes^" — and   within 

his  way  at  this  point.  They  both  fell  on  the  spot,  being  shot,  it  was  supposed,  by  a  ball 
from  the  British  side— it  was  the  last  gun  fired." 

Dr.  Ramsay,  the  Tennessee  historian,  asserts  that  Colonel  Williams  "  fell  a  victim  to 
the  true  Palmetto  spirit,  and  intemperate  eagerness  for  battle.  Toward  the  close  of  the 
engagement,  he  espied  Ferguson  riding  near  the  line,  and  dashed  toward  him  with  the 
gallant  determination  of  a  personal  encounter.  '  I  will  kill  Ferguson,  or  die  in  the  attempt!' 
exclaimed  Williams ;  and  spurring  his  horse  in  the  direction  of  the  enemy,  received  a  bul- 
let as  he  crossed  their  line.  He  survived  till  he  heard  tbac  his  antagonist  was  killed,  and 
his  camp  surrendered  ;  and  amidst  the  shouts  of  victory  by  his  triumphant  countrymen, 
said  :  ■  1  die  contented  ;'  and  with  a  smile  on  his  countenance,  expired." 

The  late  Dr.  A.  L.  Hammond,  son  of  Major  Hammond,  in  an  article  on  King's  Moun- 
tain battle,  in  the  Charleston  Courier,  June  21.  1859  stated  that  "  Williams'  horse,  wound- 
ed and  snorting  with  foam  and  blood  at  every  bound,  dashed  forward.  Ferguson  turned 
to  receive  him  ;  their  swords  crossed — nothing  more,  for  at  that  instant  a  deadly  volley 
came  from  both  sides,  and  the  two  combatants  fell  mortally  wounded." 

Ensign  Robert  Campbell  states,  that  "Colonel  Williamfe  was  shot  tbrojgli  the  body, 
near  the  close  of  the  action,  in  making  an  attempt  to  chirge  on  Ferguson;  he  lived  long 
enough  to  hear  of  the  surrender  of  the  British  army,  when  he  said:  'I  die  contented, 
since  we  have  gained  the  victory  '  " 

Dr.  John  H.  Logan,  the  historian  of  the  U/>-Country  0/  South  Carolina,  has  preserved 
among  the  MS.  traditions  he  gathered  many  years  ago,  this  account  of  Colonel  Williams' 
death:  Williams  and  Ferguson  fell  nearly  at  the  same  time,  on  the  eastern  side  of  the 
mountain.  Williams,  from  a  more  favorable  position  than  those  occupied  by  Campbell 
and  Hambright.  saw  the  magpie  influence  of  Ferguson's  whistle  Dashing  to  the  front,  his 
horse  throwing  bloody  foam  from  his  month  that  had  been  struck  by  a  ball,  he  was  heard 
to  exclaim — "  I'll  silence  that  whistle  or  die  in  the  attempt!"  Quickly  Ferguson  was  no 
more  ;  and  soon  after,  a,  ball  from  the  enemy  laid  Williams  mortally  wounded  on  the  hill- 

Still  more  romantic  is  Simms'  statement  in  his  History  of  South  Carolina:  "  Tradition 
reports  that  Williams  and  Ferguson  perished  by  each  other's  hands  ;  that,  after  Ferguson 
had  fallen  by  the  pistol  of  Williams,  and  lav  wounded  on  the  ground  the  latter  approached 
and  offered  him  mercy  ;  and  that  his  answer  was  a  fatal  bullet  from  the  pistol  of  the  dying 
man  !" 

Much  more  probable  is  the  statement  of  Dr.  John  Whelchel.  of  Williams'  command. 
doubtless  an  eye-witness,  and  a  man  of  much  intelligence.  In  his  pension  declaration,  he 
states  that  Colonel  Williams  received  his  fatal  shot  "immediately  after  the  enemy  had 
hoisted  a  flag  to  surrender."  Lieutenant  Joseph  Hughes,  of  Brandon's  men,  makes  a 
similar  statement  The  narrative  of  Thomas  Young  already  cited,  also  tends  to  divest 
thes?  romances  of  any  claim  to  historic  probability. 

^'  ''A  British  surgeon,"  says  Lieutenant  Newell,  referring,  doubtless,  to  Dr.  Johnson, 
**  stated  that  he  held  his  watch,  and  that  the  storm  lasted  twenty  minutes." 


thirty  or  forty  yards  of  each  other  ;  and  was  the  most  hotly 
contested  part  of  the  action.  Campbell  was  on  foot  at  the 
head  of  his  regiment — so  much  advanced  in  front  as  to  be 
in  danger  from  the  fire  of  his  own  men  ;  and  his  courageous 
words  were — "  Boys,  remember  your  liberty  !  Come  on! 
come  on  !  my  brave  fellows  ;  another  gun — another  gun  will 
do  it !  D — m  them,  we  must  have  them  out  of  this  !"  *  It 
was  one  incessant  peal  of  fire-arms.  The  enemy  made  a 
firm  stand  ;  but  after  a  while  they  were  forced  to  retire  some 
distance  along  the  crest  of  the  mountain,  towards  their  camp 
at  the  north-eastern  extremity,  when  they  halted  again  for  a 
few  moments.  The  brave  men  of  Campbell  and  Shelby 
were  sensibly  aided  by  the  heroic  bravery  of  the  left  wing 
under  Cleveland,  Lacey  and  Williams,  who  pressed,  with 
shouts  of  victory,  upon  the  Tories  in  that  quarter,  which 
tended  to  re-animate  the  Virginians  and  the  Sullivan  troops, 
who,  with  re-doubled  iury,  fought  like  tigers.  They  drove 
Ferguson's  surviving  Rangers  and  the  Tories  before  them  to 
where  their  wagons  were,  behind  which  they  made  a  rally ; 
but  they  were  soon  driven  from  this  covert,  down  into  a 
sunken  or  hollow  place,  by  which  time  the  Rangers  were 
mostly  killed  or  disabled,  and  the  Loyalists  quite  de- 
moralized, f 

Campbell's  column  was  two  or  three  times  driven  down, 
or  partly  down  the  mountain  ;  Shelby  says  he  was  three 
times  repulsed — and  Doctor  Ferguson,  in  his  Memoir  of 
his  kinsman.  Colonel  Ferguson,  declares  that  the  Provin  • 
cials,  with  their  bayonets  "  repulsed  the  enemy  in  three 
several  attacks."  One  part  of  Cleveland's  line  was  charged 
once  in  the  flank,  and  another  portion  was  twice  driven 
before  the  bayonet;  while  Chronicle  and  Hambright's 
Lincoln  men  were  once,  at  least,  forced  down  the  hill.  Mc- 
Dowell's corps  received  a  bayonet  charge,  as  Thomas  Ken- 

Newell's  and  Sharp's  statements, 
•r  Statements  of  Lieutenant  Newell,  James  Crow,  and  Henry  Dickenson,  of  Campbell's 


nedy,  one  of  the  Captains,  testifies.  Sevier's  column,  save 
those  intermingled  with  Campbell's  men,  was  not  charged 
dm-ing  the  action  ;  nor  was  WilHams'  battalion  ;  *  nor  is  it 
known  that  Lacey's  or  Winston's  columns  suffered  from 
these  bayonet  charges. 

When  the  Provincials  and  Loyalists  charged  the  Ameri- 
cans down  the  mountain,  they  seem  to  have  reserved  their 
fire  till  the  termination  of  their  pursuit ;  and  having  dis- 
charged their  rifles,  they  retreated  with  great  precision,  re- 
loading as  they  retraced  their  steps  f  — as  they  had  learned 
very  skillfully  to  do  by  the  example  and  instructions  of  Fergu- 
son ;  but  while  they  were  thus  deliberately  retiring,  the  sharp- 
sighted  riflemen  below  them,  taking  deadly  aim,  would  pick 
them  off"  at  every  moment.  Long  experience  proves,  that 
marksmen  in  a  valley  have  the  advantage  of  those  on  a 
hill,  in  firing  at  each  other,  which  is  probably  owing  to  the 
terrestrial  refraction.  J  The  forest-hunters,  though  apprised 
of  this  fact,  often  shoot  too  high  when  their  object  is  below 
them.  Be  this  as  it  may,  the  English  shot  whistled  over  the 
heads  of  the  Americans,  rattling  among  the  trees  and  cut- 
ting off"  twigs,  while  the  bullets  of  the  mountaineers  produced 
dreadful  eflect — the  British  losses  having  been  nearly  three 
times  that  of  their  antagonists.  Lieutenant  Allaire  states 
that  the  North  Carolina  Loyalists,  seeing  that  they  were 
surrounded,  and  numbers  being  without  ammunition,  were 
the  first  to  give  way,  which  naturally  threw  the  rest  of  the 
Tories  into  confusion.  §  This  may  have  been  so,  and  yet 
the  official  report  of  Campbell  and  his  associates  be  also 
true,  that  the  greater  part  of  the  enemy's  guns  at  the  sur- 
render were  still  charged. 

As  Robert  Henry,  of  Hambright's  and  Chronicle's  party, 

*  So  James  Sevier  and  Silas  McBee,  of  those  regiments,  respectfully  stated  to  the 

f  Communicated  verbally,  in  July,  1842,  by  Samuel  Handley,  of  Pontotoc  County, 
Miss.,  as  derived  from  his  father,  Captain  Samuel  Handley,  Sr.,  who  served  in  Sevier's  regi- 
ment at  King's  Mountain. 

J  Mills"  Statiscics.  779. 

^Allaire's  MS.  Diary  ;  and  his  newspaper  narrative,  also. 


who  had  been  traiislixed  by  a  Tory  bayonet,  was  making 
his  way  at  the  very  close  of  the  engagement  to  Clarke's 
Branch  to  quench  his  thirst,  he  unexpectedly  met  Colonel 
Graham  on  his  large  black  steed,  accompanied  by  David 
Dickey,  who,  wielding  his  sword  around  his  head,  exclaimed 
— '-D — m  the  Tories!"*  He  had  heard  the  firing  while 
on  his  way  to  his  sick  wife,  and  could  not  resist  the  impulse 
to  return,  and  share  in  the  battle.  \  Just  before  the  final 
surrender  of  the  enemy,  when  there  was  much  intermingling 
of  the  mountaineers.  Colonel  Shelby  had  the  hair  on 
the  left  side  of  his  head  scorched  off,  which  was  noticedby 
Colonel  Sevier,  who  met  him  at  this  moment — so  narrowly 
did,the  heroic  Shelby  escape  losing  his  life  by  Tory  bullets. J 
With  their  men  forced  into  a  huddle  near  their  tents  and 
wagons,  the  surviving  British  officers  could  not  form  half  a 
dozen  of  them  together;  and  the  demoralized  Tories  were 
being  shot  down  like  sheep  at  the  slaughter. 

The  fall  of  Ferguson  is  represented  by  Lieutenant 
Allaire  as  having  occurred  "  early  in  the  action  ;  "  and 
Captain  Ryerson,  another  of  his  corps  officers,  only  states 
that  DePe3'ster,  after  the  loss  of  Ferguson,  maintained  his 
ground  as  long  as  it  was  possible  to  defend  it.  Tarleton 
states,  that  when  Ferguson  was  shot,  after  nearly  an  hour's 
fighting,  "  his  whole  corps  was  thrown  into  total  confusion  ; 
no  effort  was  made  after  this  event,  to  resist  the  enemy's 
barbarity,  or  revenge  the  fall  of  their  leader."  In  the 
Meynoir  of  General  Samuel  Graham,  a  Captain  under 
Lord  Cornwallis — a  work  prepared  from  the  General's 
manuscripts — it  is  stated,  that  after  the  fall  of  Ferguson, 
and  many  of  his  men,  "  the  remainder,  after  a  short  resist- 
ance, were  overpowered,  and  compelled  to  surrender."     A 

*  Robert  Henry  s  MS.  narrative,  appended  to  the  statements  of  Vance  and  McDowell, 
-J-  That  night.  Colonel  Graham's  only  child,  Sarah,  was   born,  who,  when    she   grew  to 
womanhood,  bei  ame  the  wife  of  Abram  Irvine,  who  was  several  years  Sheriff  of  Ruther- 
ford  County.     The   venerable  Dr.  O.  E.    Irvine,   of   Greenville,  S.    C,    is  one   of  several 
children  of  this  marriage. 

\  Shelby  s  letter,  August  12,   and  Colonel  John  Sevier  s,  August  27,  1812. 


writer  in  the  London  Political  Magazine,  for  February, 
1781,  asserts  that  when  Ferguson  fell,  Captain  DePeyster, 
the  next  in  command,  "  immediately  hoisted  the  white  flag 
— that  is,  his  white  handkerchief ;"  an  officer  close  by  him, 
enraged  at  such  timidity,  made  a  stroke  at  him  with  his 
sabre,  and  almost  cut  off  his  hand;  nevertheless  the  surren- 
der went  on." 

Allaire  and  Ryerson,  his  fellow  officers,  not  only  acquit 
DePe3'ster  of  the  charge  of  timidity,  but  declare  that  his 
conduct  was,  in  all  "respects,  proper;"  and  Captain 
Ryerson  adds,  that  he  "behaved  like  a  brave  good  officer." 
Of  course,  the  hand-cutting  incident  had  no  foundation. 
Ramsaj',  the  South  Carolina  historian,  states  that  "no 
chance  of  escape  being  left,  and  all  prospect  of  successful 
resistance  being  at  an  end,  the  second  in  command  sued  for 
quarter."  Gordon,  in  his  History,  and  Mackenzie,  in  his 
Strictures,  adopt  this  view  of  the  matter :  And  Ensign 
Robert  Campbell,  of  the  Virginia  regiment  observes,  that  as 
soon  as  Ferguson  fell,  "  Captain  DePe3'ster  raised  a  flag, 
and  called  for  quarters  ;  it  was  soon  taken  out  of  his  hand 
by  one  of  the  officers  on  horseback,  and  raised  so  high  that 
it  could  be  seen  by  our  line." 

But  there  were  other  white  flags  or  emblems  displayed 
by  the  enemy,  either  with  or  without  the  sanction  of  De- 
Peyster. A  man  w^as  mounted  on  horseback  with  a  white 
handkerchief  as  a  token  of  submission  ;  but  he  was  quickly 
shot  down  by  the  half-crazed  Bowen,  as  already  related; 
when  another  was  mounted  on  the  same  horse,  and  set 
out  for  the  display  of  the  emblem  of  surrender,  who  soon 
shared  the  same  fate,  but  a  third  met  with  better  success — 
Major  Evan  Shelby  received  it,  and,  with  others,  pro- 
claimed the  surrender.  By  this  time  white  handkerchiefs 
were  also  displayed  in  various  quarters  on  guns  and  ram- 
rods. "  Our  men,"  says  Shelby,  "  who  had  been  scattered 
in  the  battle,  were  continually  coming  up,  and  continued  to 
fire,  without  comprehending,  in  the  heat  of  the    moment, 

282  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

what  had  happened."  Many  of  the  young  men,  it  was  said 
for  their  apolog}',  knew  not  the  meaning  of  a  white  flag 
under  such  circumstances  ;  while  others  had  become  embit- 
tered, and  were  crying  out — "Give  them  Buford's  play  !"* — 
no  quarters,  as  Tarleton  had,  the  preceding  May,  so  savagely 
treated  Colonel  Buford  and  his  party.  "When  the 
British,"  sa3'S  Mills'  Statistics  of  South  Carolina,  "found 
themselves  pressed  on  all  sides,  they  hung  out  white  hand- 
kerchiefs upon  guns  and  halberds.  Few  of  the  Americans 
understood  the  signal,  and  the  few  that  did,  chose  not  to 
know  what  it  meant ;  so  that,  even  after  submission,  the 
slaughter  continued,  until  the  Americans  were  weary  of 
killing."  This  is  a  sad  confession,  but  impartial  truth  de- 
mands that  the  record  be  faithful,  though,  in  this  case,  there 
is  reason  to  believe  that  the  latter  part  of  Mills'  statement  is 
somewhat  exaggerated. 

Among  those  still  engaged  in  this  work  of  death  was 
3roung  Joseph  Sevier,  who  had  heard  that  his  father.  Col- 
onel Sevier,  had  been  killed  in  the  action — a  false  report, 
originating,  probably,  from  the  fact  of  the  Colonel's  brother. 
Captain  Robert  Sevier,  having  been  fatally  wounded  ;  and 
the  J'oung  soldier  kept  up  firing  upon  the  huddled  Tories, 
until  admonished  to  cease,  when  he  excitedly  cried  out, 
with  the  tears  chasing  each  other  down  his  cheeks — "  The 
d — d  rascals  have  killed  my  father,  and  I'll  keep  loading 
and  shooting  till  I  kill  every  son  of  a  b — h  of  them."  Col- 
onel Sevier  now  riding  up,  his  son  discovered  the  mistake 
under  which  he  had  labored,  and  desisted,  f 

But  the  Whig  leaders  were  active  in  their  efforts  to  put 
a  stop  to  the  further  firing  of  the  patriots.  The  subdued 
Tories  were  everywhere  crying  "  quarters  !" — "  quarters  !" 
"  D — m  you,"  exclaimed  Shelby,  "  if  you  want  quarters, 
throw    down  your  arms  !"  \      Benjamin   Sharp,  of  Camp- 

*  Shelby's  narrative,  1823  ;  General  Graham's  statement ;    certificate  of  John  Long,  of 
Shelby's  men. 

t  Statement  of  Colonel  George   W.Sevier. 

X  Certificate  of  John  Sharp,  of  Shelby's  regiment,  1823. 


bell's  regiment,  who  witnessed  this  scene,  thus  describes  it : 
"  At  the  close  of  the  action,  when  the  British  were  loudly 
calling  for  quarters,  but  uncertain  whether  they  would  be 
granted,  I  saw  the  intrepid  Shelby  i-ush  his  horse  within 
fifteen  paces  of  their  lines,  and  command  them  to  lay  down 
their  arms,  and  they  should  have  quarters.  Some  would 
call  this  an  imprudent  act ;  but  it  showed  the  daring  bravery 
cf  the  man."  * 

Andrew  Evius,  a  member  of  Captain  William  Edmond- 
son's  company,  of  the  Virginia  regiment,  was,  with  others, 
still  firing  on  the  demoralized  Tories,  when  Colonel  Camp- 
bell came  running  up,  and  knocked  up  the  soldier's  gun, 
exclaiming — "  Evins,  for  God's  sake,  don't  shoot!  It  is 
murder  to  kill  them  now,  for  they  have  raised  the  flag!"f 
Campbell,  as  he  rushed  along,  repeated  the  order — "  Cease 
firing  ! — for  God's  sake,  cease  firing  ! "'  \  Thus  was  Colonel 
Campbell  mercifully  engaged  in  saving  the  discomfited 
Loyalists  from  further  effusion  of  blood — no  officer  could 
have  acted  more  tender  or  humane ;  and  he  passed  on 
around  the  prisoners,  on  foot,  still  seeking  to  promote  their 
safety  and  protection. 

Captain  DePeyster,  who  had  succeeded  Ferguson  in 
the  command,  sitting  on  his  grey  horse,  expostulated  with 
Colonel  Campbell,  referring  to  the  firing  on  his  flag — "  Col- 
onel Campbell,  it  was  d — d  unfair,"  and  then  repeated  it; 
but  Campbell,  probably  thinking  it  no  time  to  bandy  words 
with  the  British  leader,  simply  ordered  him  to  dismount ; 
and  called  out,  "officers,  rank  by  yourselves;  prisoners, 
take  off"  your  hats,  and  sit  down."  §  The  enemy  at  this 
time  had  been  driven  into  a  group  of  sixty  yards  in  length, 
and  less  than  forty  in  width.  ||  The  mountaineers  were 
ordered    to    close   up    in   surrounding   the    prisoners,   first 

*  American  Pioneer,  Febtuary,  1843,   6g. 

•^  Evins'  statement.  1823. 

\  Letter  of  General  George  Rutledge,  May  27th,  1813. 

g  James  Crow's  statement,  .May  6,  1813. 

11  General  Graham's  narrative. 


in  one  continuous  circle,  then  double  guards,  and  finally 
four  deep.  *  Colonel  Campbell  then  proposed  to  his  troops 
three  huzzas  for  Liberty,  which  were  gi\-en  in  hearty 
acclaim,  making  the  welkin  ring,  and  the  hills  resound,  with 
their  shouts  of  victory,  f 

An  occurrence  now  transpired,  that,  for  a  few  moments, 
changed  the  whole  scene  in  that  quarter ;  and  threatened, 
for  a  brief  period,  the  most  tragic  consequences.  It  is 
known,  as  a  British  account  relates  it,  tliat  "  a  small  party 
of  the  Loyal  militia  returning  from  foraging,  unacquainted 
with  the  surrender,  happening  to  fire  on  the  Rebels,  the 
prisoners  were  immediately  threatened  with  death,  if  the 
firing  should  be  repeated."}  Whether  it  was  the  volley 
from  this  party,  who  probably  scampered  off;  or  whether 
from  some  of  the  Tories  in  the  general  huddle,  exasperated 
perhaps  that  proper  respect  was  not  instantly  paid  to  their 
flag,  now  fired  upon,  and  mortally  wounded  Colonel  Wil- 
liams, who  was  riding  towards  the  British  encampment ; 
and,  wheeling  back,  said  to  William  Moore,  one  of  Camp- 
bell's regiment — "  I'm  a  gone  man  !"  § 

Colonel  Campbell  was  close  at  hand  when  this  un- 
happy event  transpired  ;  and  doubtless  reasoned,  that  if  the 
fatal  firing  proceeded  from  an  outside  partj',  it  was  the  pre- 
cursor of  Tarleton's  expected  relief ;  if  from  the  surrendered 
Tories,  at  least  some  considerable  portion  of  them  were  in- 
clined to  spring  a  trap  on  the  Whigs,  shoot  down  their  leaders, 
and  make  a  bold  attempt  to  escape,  when  the  patriots  were 
measurably  off  their  guard,  and  least  prepared  for  it ;  and 
acting  on  the  spur  of  the  moment,  he  resolved  on  stern 
military  tactics  to  quell  the  intended  mutiny,  by  instantly 

*  Captain  Christopher  Taylor's  statement  :  conversations  with  John  Spelts, 

"rSlatements  of  John  Craig;   MS.  narrative  of  Robert  Henry. 

\  South  Carolina  Gazette,  Decemher  20,  1780;  ^TiA  Scof  s  Magazine,  Jannary,  1781. 
The  editor  of  the  Gazette  evidently  derived  his  statement  from  Lieutenant  Allaire,  of  Fer- 
guson's Rangers,  judging  from  a  comparison  of  the  details  there  given,  with  a  more  elabor- 
ate narrative  in  Rivington's  Royal  Gazette,  New  York,  February  24,  1781,  which  General 
J.  Watts  DePeyster  attributes,  from  internal  evidence,  to  that  officer,  and  which  Lieutenant 
Allaire's  MS.  Di.iry  fully  corroborates. 

3  Statement  of  William  Moore. 


ordering  the  men  near  him — the*  men  of  Williams  and 
Brandon's  command — to  fire  upon  the  enemy.  The  order 
was  quickly  obeyed  by  the  soldiers  who  had  been  so 
treacherously  deprived  of  their  intrepid  leader  ;  "  and,"  said 
Lieutenant  Joseph  Hughes,  one  of  Brandon's  part}^  "we 
killed  near  a  hundred  of  them."  But  the  probabilities  are, 
that  those  who  fired,  and  those  who  suffered  from  it,  were 
not  very  numerous.  It  was,  however,  a  sad  affair  ;  and  in 
the  confusion  of  the  moment,  its  origin  and  its  immediate 
effects  were  probably  little  understood  by  either  party  ;  and 
doubtless  Colonel  Campbell  himself  deeply  regretted  the 
order  he  had  given  to  fire  upon  an  unresisting  foe.  * 

=*' These  particulars  may  be  somewhat  erroneous  and  exaggerated;  but  there  must  be 
a  basis  of  truth  in  them.  It  is  due  to  the  high  reputation  that  Colonel  Hughes  sustained  in 
his  day,  to  accord  candor  and  good  intentions  to  his  statements  generally.  In  his  pension 
application,  in  1833,  he  briefly  states:  "Was  at  King's  Mountain,  where  General  Williams 
was  mortally  wounded,  after  the  British  had  raised  their  flag  to  surrender,  by  a  fire  from 
some  Tories.  Colonel  Campbell  then  ordered  a  fire  on  the  Tories,  and  we  killed  near  a 
hundred  of  them  after  the  surrender  of  the  British,  and  could  hardly  be  restrained  from 
killing  the  whole  of  them." 

That  Colonel  Hughes'  statements  are  worthy  of  respect,  a  brief  reference  to  some  of 
the  more  salient  points  of  hi?  Revolutionary  services,  and  the  good  character  he  bore  during 
the  war,  and  for  more  than  half  a  century  thereafter,  are  only  necessary  to  be  cited.  He 
was  born  in  what  is  now  Chester  County,  South  Carolina,  in  1-761,  his  parents  having 
retired  there_  temporarily  from  the  present  region  of  Union  County,  on  account  of  Indian 
troubles.  He  served,  in  1776,  on  Williamson's  Cherokee  expedition,  and  subsequently  in 
Georgia.  Governor  Rutledge,  early  in  1780.  commissioned  him  a  Lieutenant,  and  he  fought 
under  Sumter  at  Rocky  Mount  and  Hanging  Rock;  and  then  shared  in  the  heroic  action  at 
Musgrove's  Mill.  His  dare-devil  character,  ?nd  adventurous  services,  in  the  up-country 
region  of  South  Carolina,  during  the  summer  and  autumn  of  1780,  have  already  been  related. 
In  one  of  these  Tory  encounters,  Hughes  had  a  lock  of  hair  cut  from  his  head,  Captain 
Samuel  Otterson  a  slight  wound  on  his  chin,  while  a  third  person  received  a  cut  across  his 
cheek  — all  from  the  same  shot. 

Then  we  find  him  taking  part,  in  the  memorable  engagements  at  King's  Mountain, 
Hammond's  Store,  and  Cowpens.  Though  yet  a  Lieutenant,  he  commanded  his  company 
in  this  latter  action.  He  was  not  only  a  man  of  great  personal  strength,  but  of  remarkable 
fleetness  on  foot.  As  his  men,  with  others,  broke  at  the  Cowpens,  and  fled  before  Tarleton's 
cavalry;  and  though  receiving  a  sabre  cut  across  his  right  hand,  yet  with  his  drawn 
sword,  he  would  out-run  his  men,  and  passing  them,  face  about,  and  command  them  to 
stand,  striking  right  and  left  to  enforce  obedience  to  orders;  often  repeating  with  a  loud 
voice :  "  You  d — d  cowards,  halt  and  fight — there  is  more  danger  in  running  than  in  fight- 
ing, and  if  you  don't  stop  and  fight,  you  will  all  be  killed  !"  But  most  of  them  were  for 
awhile  too  demoralized  to  realize  the  situation,  or  obey  the  commands  of  their  officers.  As 
they  would  scamper  off,  Hughes  would  renewedly  pursue,  and  once  more  gaining  their 
front,  would  repeat  his  tactics  to  bring  them  to  their  duty.  At  length  the  company  was 
induced  to  make  a  stand,  on  the  brow  of  a  slope,  some  distance  from  the  battle-line,  be- 
hind a  clump  of  young  pines  that  partially  concealed  and  protected  them  from  Tarleton's 
cavalry.     Others  now  joined  them  for    self-protection.      Their   guns  were  quickly   loaded, 

286  KING  'S  MO  UNTAIN 

The  firing  upon  the  British  and  Tories  was  at  length 
suppressed.  Colonel  Shelby,  fearing  that  the  enemy  might 
3^et,  perhaps,  feel  constrained,  in  self-defence,  to  resume 
their  arms,  and  which  they  could  with  such  facility  snatch 
up  as  they  lay  before  them,  exclaimed  :  *'  Good  God  !  what 
can  we  do  in  this  confusion  ?"  ''  We  can  order  the  prison- 
ers from  their  arms"  said  Captain  Sawyers.  ''Yes,"  re- 
sponded Shelby,  "that  can  be  done'';  and  the  prisoners 
were  accordingly  forthwith  marched  to  another  place,  with 
a  strong  guard  placed  around  them.  * 

The  surviving  British  leaders  were  prompt  to  surrender 
their  swords  to  the  first  American  officer  that  came  near 
them.  Ferguson's  sword  was  picked  up  on  the  ground  ; 
and,  according  to  one  account,  it  passed  into  Colonel 
Cleveland's  possession ;  but  with  more  probability,  accord- 
ing to  others,  it  fell  into  the  hands  of  Colonel  Sevier.  Cap- 
tain DePeyster  delivered  his  sword,  as  some  assert,  to 
Colonel  Campbell ;  while  others  declare  it  was  to  Major 
Evan  Shelby.  Captain  Ryerson,  who  was  wounded,  ten- 
dered   his    swoi'd    to    Lieutenant    Andrew    Kincannon,    of 

and  they  were  themselves  again.  Morgan  galloped  up  and  spoke  words  of  encourage- 
ment to  them.  The  next  moment  the  British  cavalry  were  at  them  ;  but  the  Whigs  re- 
served their  fire  till  the  enemy  were  so  near,  that  it  was  terribly  effective,  emptying  many 
a  British  saddle,  when  the  survivors  recoiled.  Now  Colonel  Washington  gaVe  them  a 
charge — the  battle  was  restored,  when  Howard  and  his  Marylanders  with  the  bayonet 
swept  the  field.  Such  is  the  account  related  by  Christopher  Brandon  to  Daniel  Wallace. 
Tarleton  acknowledges,  that  "  an  unexpected  fire  from  the  Americans,  who  came  about  as 
they  were  retreating,  stopped  the  British,  and  threw  them  into  confusion,"  when  a  panic 
ensued,  and  then  a  general  flight.  It  was  a  high  and  woithy  compliment  from  his  old 
commander,  Colonel  Brandon,  who  declared,  that,  at  the  Cowpens,  "  Hughes  saved  ike 
fate  of  the  day." 

As  a  deserved  recognition  of  these  meritorious  services,  he  was  promoted  to  a  Cap- 
taincy early  in  1781,  when  he  was  scarcely  twenty  years  of  age  ;  and  led  his  company  with 
characteristic  valor,  at  the  battle  of  Eutaw  Springs,  The  Tories  had  killed  his  father 
during  the  war,  and  many  a  dear  friend,  and  his  animosity  against  the  whole  race  was 
alike  bitter  and  unrelenting.  In  1825,  he  removed  to  Alabama,  first  to  Green  County,  and 
then  to  Pickens,  where  he  died,  in  September,  1834,  in  his  seventy-fourth  year.  For  more 
than  twenty  of  the  closing  years  of  his  life,  he  was  an  elder  in  the  Presbyterian  church  ; 
and  the  rough,  and  almost  tiger-like  partisan,  became  as  humble  and  submissive  as  a  lamb. 
He  rose  to  the  rank  of  Colonel  in  the  militia.  He  was  tall  and  commanding  in  his  appearance, 
jovial  and  affable  in  conversation  ;  yet  his  early  military  training  rendered  him,  to  the  Inst. 
stern  and  rigid  in  discipline.  In  all  that  makes  up  the  man,  he  was  a  noble  specimen  of  the 
Revolutionary  hero. 

'■'Ramsey's  Tennessee,  239;  MS,  correspondence  of  Dr.  Ramsey. 


Campbell's  regiment,  who  was,  at  that  moment,  endeavor- 
ing to  check  the  firing  on  the  surrendered  Tories  ;  but  not 
regarding  himself  as  the  proper  officer  to  receive  this  ten- 
der of  submission,  the  Lieutenant,  without  due  reflection, 
courteously  invited  the  British  Captain  to  be  seated ;  who 
looking  around,  and  seeing  no  seat,  promptly  squatted 
himself  upon  the  ground,  Kincannon  entering  into  conver- 
sation with  him.  Adjutant  Franklin,  of  Cleveland's  regi- 
ment, now  coming  up,  received  Ryerson's  sword,  the  latter 
remarking:  "You  deserve  it,  sir!"*  Colonel  Campbell 
was  stalking  around  among  the  enemy  in  his  shirt  sleeves, 
and  his  collar  open,  and  when  some  of  the  Americans 
pointed  him  out  as  their  commander,  the  British,  at  first, 
from  his  unmilitary  plight,  seemed  to  doubt  it,  but  a  number 
of  officers  now  surrendered  their  swords  to  him,  until  he 
had  several  in  his  hands,  and  under  his  arm.f 

It  is  proper  to  advert  briefly  to  Ferguson's  conduct  in 
the  battle.  It  was  that  of  a  hero.  He  did  all  that  mortal 
man  could  have  done,  under  the  circumstances,  to  avert  the 
impending  catastrophe.  He  was  almost  ubiquitous — his 
voice,  his  presence,  and  his  whistle  everywhere  animated 
his  men,  either  to  renew  their  bayonet  charges,  or  maintain 
a  firm  stand  against  the  steadily  encroaching  mountaineers. 
But  he  tiiisted  too  much  to  the  bayonet  against  an  enemy  as 
nimble  as  the  antelope.  %  "  He  had,"  says  Doctor  Ferguson, 
"  two  horses  killed  under  him,  while  he  remained  untouched 
himself;  but  he  afterwards  received  a  number  of  wounds, 
of  which,  it  is  said,  any  one  was  mortal,  and  dropping  from 
his  horse,  expired,  while  his  foot  yet  hung  in  the  stirrup."  § 
This,  if  we  may  credit  Lee's  Memoirs  of   the  War  in  the 

'■'Judge  J.  F.  Graves'  sketch  of  his  grandfather,  Jesse  Franklin,  in  the  second  series  of 
Caruthers'  Incidents  in  the  Old  Kortk  State,  pp.  203-4  ',  ^^S.  statement  of  Elijah  Callaway  ; 
MS.  correspondence  of  Dr.  A.  N.  Kincannon,  of  Missouri,  and  John  L.  Worth,  of  Mt. 
Airy.  N.  C. 

I  Lieutenant  William  Russell,  James  Snodgrass,  James  Keys.  David  Campbell,  Henry 
Dickenson,  and  David  Beattic,  of  CampbelFs  regiment,  and  William  King,  and  George 
Rutledge.  of  Shelby's  men. 

J  Johnson's  Greene,  i.  306. 

^Memoir of  Colonel   Ferguson,  -^2' 

288  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

Souths  and  Burk's  History  of  Virginia,  happened  after 
fifty  minutes'  fighting  ;  or  some  ten  or  fifteen  minutes  before 
the  final  close  of  the  action  ;  and  about  three  minutes  before 
the  flag  was  displayed  for  surrender,  according  to  Thomas 
Maxwell,  one  of  Shelby's  men. 

As  long  as  Ferguson  lived,  his  unyielding  spirit  scorned 
to  surrender.  He  persevered  until  he  received  his  mortal 
wounds.  His  fall  very  naturally  disheartened  his  followers. 
For  some  time  before  that  fatal  event,  there  was  really  nothing 
to  encourage  them,  save  the  faintest  hope  which  they  vainly 
cherished  of  momentary  relief  from  Tarleton.  Animated 
by  the  brave  example  of  their  heroic  leader,  and,  still  con- 
fiding in  his  fruitful  mihtary  resources,  they  had  maintained 
the  unequal  contest  under  all  disadvantages.  Losing  his 
inspiration,  they  lost  all — with  him  perished  the  last  hope 
of  success.  * 

Colonel  Ferguson  not  only  made  a  sad  mistake  in  delaj'- 
ing  a  single  moment  at  Kinjr's  mountain  with  a  view  to  a 
passage  at  arms  with  his  pursuers  ;  but  he  committed,  if  pos- 
sible, a  still  more  grievous  error  in  the  supposed  strength  of 
his  position.  •'  His  encampment,"  says  the  South  Carolina 
historian,  Ramsay,  "  on  the  top  of  the  mountain  was  not 
well  chosen,  as  it  gave  the  Americans  an  opportunity  of 
covering  themselves  in  their  approaches.  Had  he  pursued 
his  march  on  charging  and  driving  the  first  part}^  of  the 
militia  which  gave  way,  he  might  have  got  oflf  with  the 
most  of  his  men  ;  but  his  unconquerable  spirit  disdained 
either  to  flee  or  to  surrender."  The  historian,  Gordon,  takes 
the  same  view  :  "  Major  Ferguson  was  overseen  in  making 
his  stand  on  the  mountain,  which,  being  much  covered  with 
woods,  gave  the  militia,  who  were  all  riflemen,  the  oppor- 
tunity of  approaching  near,  with  greater  safety  to  themselves 
than  if  they  had  been  upon  plain,  open  ground.  The  Major, 
however,  might  have  made  good  his  retreat,  if  not  with  the 
whole,  at  least  with  a  great  part  of  his  men,  had  he  pursued 

*  Stedman's  A. 

77ierzca  n 


his  march  immediately  upon  his  charging  and  driving 
the  first  detachment ;  for  though  the  mihtia  acted  with  spirit 
for  undiscipHned  troops,  it  was  with  difficulty  that  they  could 
he  prevailed  upon  to  renew  their  attack,  after  being  charged 
with  the  bayonet.  They  kept  aloof,  and  continued  popping  ; 
then  gathered  round,  and  crept  nearer,  till,  at  length,  they 
leveled  the  Major  with  one  of  their  shots." 

General  Simon  Bernard,  one  of  the  most  distinguished 
engineers,  and  aids-de-camp  of  the  great  Napoleon,  and  sub- 
sequently in  the  United  States  engineer  service,  on  examin- 
ing the  battle-ground  of  King's  Mountain,  said:  "The 
Americans,  by  their  victory  in  that  engagement,  erected  a 
monument  to  perpetuate  the  brave  men  who  had  fallen 
there  ;  and  the  shape  of  the  hill  itself  would  be  an  eternal 
monument  of  the  militar}^  genius  and  skill  of  Colonel  Fer- 
guson, in  selecting  a  position  so  well  adapted  for  defence; 
and  that  no  .other  plan  of  assault  but  that  pursued  by  the 
mountain-men,  could  have  succeeded  against  him."  * 

One  of  our  best  historical  critics.  General  DePeyster, 
observes:  "Ferguson  set  an  inordinate  value  on  the  posi- 
tion which  he  had  selected,  which,  however  strong  against 
a  regular  attack,  was  not  defensible  against  the  attacks 
which  were  about  to  be  directed  upon  it.  How  grievously 
he  erred  as  to  the  intrinsic  availability  of  King's  Mountain 
as  a  military  position,  was  evinced  by  his  remark  that  '  all 
the  Rebels  from  h — 1  could  not  drive  him  from  it.'  It  is  true, 
he  was  not  driven  from  it ;  but  its  bald,  rocky  summit 
merely  served,  like  the  sacrificial  stone  of  the  Aztecs,  for 
the  immolation  of  the  victims."  \ 

The  historian,  Lossing,  who  visited  the  battle-field  thirty 
odd  years  ago,  justly  observes:  "It  was  a  strange  place 
for  an  encampment  or  a  battle,  and  to  one  acquainted  with 
the  region,  it  is  difficult  to  understand  why  Ferguson  and 
his  band  were  there  at  all."  % 

'■•'  Ramsey's    History  of  Tennessee,  239. 
t  Historical   Magazine.   March,  1S69.  194. 
\  Pictorial  Field  Book  0/   the  Revolution,  ii,  423. 


It  is  useless  to  speculate  on  what  might  have  changed 
the  fate  of  the  day  ;  yet  a  few  suggestions  ma}^  not  be  out  of 
place  in  this  connection.  Trivial  circumstances,  on  critical 
occasions,  not  unfrequently  produce  the  most  momentous 
consequences.  Had  Tarleton,  for  instance,  suddenly  made 
his  appearance  before  or  during  the  battle — had  the  detach- 
ment at  Gibbs'  plantation,  near  the  Covvpens,  or  Moore's 
foraging  party,  vigorously  attacked  the  mountaineers  in  the 
rear,  during  the  progress  of  the  engagement,  and  especially 
during  the  confusion  consequent  upon  the  repulses  of  Camp- 
bell's and  Shelby's  columns ;  or  had  Ferguson  chosen 
suitable  ground  on  the  plains,  and  in  the  woods,  where  his 
men  could  have  availed  themselves  of  shelter  for  their  pro- 
tection, and  fought  on  an  equality  with  their  antagonists, 
the  result  might  have  been  very  different,  and  Ferguson 
have  been  the  hero  of  the  hour — and,  it  may  be,  the  fate  of 
American  Independence  sealed.  But  in  God's  good 
Providence,  such  a  fatal  blow  was  not  in  store  for  the 
suffering  patriots. 

Most  of  the  accounts  repi'esent  that  the  British  Colonel 
was  killed  out-right.  He  is  said  to  have  received  six  or 
eight  bullet  holes  in  his  body — one  penetrating  his  thigh, 
another  re-shattering  his  right  arm  just  above  the  elbow ; 
and  yet  he  continued  to  raise  his  sword  in  his  left  hand,*  till 
a  rifle  ball  piercing  his  head,  put  an  end  to  further  fighting 
or    consciousness,  f     In    faUing  from    his    horse,    or   while 

'■'MS,  statement  of  Elijah  Callaway,  in  1842. 

-{-Ramsay,  Gordon,  Smith,  in  his  American  War,  Moultrie,  Judge  James,  Mills  and 
Foote  are  among  the  American  writers,  who  unite  in  declaring  that  Ferguson  "received  a 
mortal  wound."  Stedman,  Mackenzie,  and  Lamb,  British  writers,  all  ot  whom  were  con- 
nected with  the  British  service  at  the  lime,  make  the  same  assertion.  The  Columbian 
Magazine,  1792,  p.  323,  states  also  that  he  received  a  mortal  wound.  Dr.  John  Whelchel, 
of  Williams'  men,  asserts  in  his  pension  statement,  that  Ferguson  "  fell  mortally  wounded  ;  " 
and  William  White,  of  Lacey's  regiment,  in  his  pension  application,  says  "  he  was  mortally 
wounded,  and  died  a  short  time  afterwards." 

The  place  where  Ferguson  fell  is  indicated  on  the  diagram  of  the  battle-field,  near  the 
brow  of  the  south  eastern  portion  of  the  mountain,  opposite  to  McDowell's  column,  but 
probably  where  Sevier's  men  had  advanced  at  the  close  of  the  conflict,  when  the  enemy 
had  been  forced  to  that  quarter.  That  locality  was  pointed  out,  fjlly  fifty  years  ago,  by 
William  Logan,  a  survivor  of  the  battle,  to  his  grandson,  the  present  Col.  J.  R.  Logan,  and 
in  which,  Arthur  Patterson,  a  cotemporary  of  the  Revolution,  and  familiar  with  King's 
Mountain  all  his  life,  coincided. 


being  conveyed  to  the  rear,  a  silver  whistle  dropped  from 
his  vest  pocket,  which  was  picked  up  by  one  of  his  soldiers, 
Elias  Powell,  who  preserved  it  many  years;*  and  Powell, 
and  three  others,  as  John  Spelts  relates,  were  seen,  at  the 
close  of  the  surrender,  bearing  off,  in  a  blanket,  their  fallen 
chief  to  a  spring  near  the  mountain's  brow,  on  the  southern 
side  of  the  elevation  ;  and  there  gently  bolstered  him  up 
with  rocks  and  blankets.  One  of  the  Tories,  who  had  just 
grounded  his  gun,  taking  in  the  situation,  and  true  to  his 
plundering  instincts,  ran  up,  and  was  in  the  act  of  thrusting 
his  hand  into  the  dying  man's  pockets,  when  the  unfeeling 
intruder  was  repelled  by  one  of  the  attendants,  who,  rudely 
pushing  him  away,  exclaimed  with  a  sarcastic  oath — "  Are 
you  going  to  rob  the  dead  ?  "  f  A  little  after,  Colonel  Shelby 
rode  up,  and  thinking  perhaps  that  Ferguson  might  yet  be 
sensible  of  what  was  said  to  him — though  he  evidently  was 
not — ^exclaimed :  "  Colonel,  the  fatal  blow  is  struck — we've 
Burgoyned  you?"  X  The  life  of  this  restless  British  leader 
soon  ebbed  away.  Some  of  the  more  thoughtless  of  the 
Whig  soldiery,  it  is  said,  committed  an  act  which  we  would 
fain  be  excused  from  the  pain  of  recording.  "  The  moun- 
taineers, it  is  reported,  used  everj^  insult  and  indignity,  after 
the  action,  towards  the  dead  body  of  Major  Ferguson."  § 

So  curious  were  the  Whigs  to  see  the  fallen  British 
chief,  that  many  repaired  to  the  spot  to  view  his  body  as  it 
lay  in  its  gore  and  glory.  Lieutenant  Samuel  Johnson,  of 
Cleveland's  regiment,  who  had  been  severely  disabled  in 
the  action,  desired  to  be  carried  there,  that  he,  too,  might 

'■=  Powell  was  one  of  the  young  men  induced  to  enlist  under  Ferguson's  banner,  and 
became  much  attached  to  his  commander.  He  was  taken  prisoner  to  Hillsboro,  where 
he  was  paroled,  and  returned  to  his  widowed  mother,  who  lived  at  what  is  known  as 
Powellton,  two  miles  east  of  Lenoir,  Caldwell  County,  on  the  western  frontier  of  North 
Carolina,  There  he  lived  until  his  death.  May  5th,  1832.  The  silver  whistle  then  went  to 
one  of  his  decendants,  who  removed  West,  and  having  since  died,  the  relic  has  been  lost 
sight  of.  John  Spelts  related,  that  Ferguson  had  a  yet  larger  silver  whistle,  a  foot  in  length, 
which  fell  into  the  hands  of  Colonel  Shelby. 

f  Statement  of  Spelts, 

I  Related  by  Spelts  and  Thomas  H,  Shelby,  a  son  of  the  Colonel. 

g  Tarleton's  Catnpnigns^  165. 


look  upon  the  dying  or  lifeless  leader  of  the  enemy  whom  he 
had  so  valiantly  fought ;  when  Colonel  Cleveland,  and  two 
of  the  soldiers,  bore  the  wounded  Lieutenant  to  the  place 
of  pilgrimage  ;  *  and  even  the  transfixed  Robert  Henry,  amid 
his  pains  and  suflferings,  could  not  repress  his  curiosity  to 
take  a  look  at  Ferguson.  It  was  probably  where  he  was 
conveyed,  and  breathed  his  last,  that  he  was  buried — on 
the  south-eastern  declivity  of  the  mountain,  where  his  mortal 
remains,  wrapped,  not  in  a  military  cloak,  or  hero's  coffin, 
but  in    a    raw   beef's    hide,  f    found    a  peaceful  sepulture. 

The  tradition  in  that  region  has  been  rife  for  more  than 
fifty  years,  that  Ferguson  had  two  mistresses  with  him,  per- 
haps nominally  cooks — both  fine  looking  3'oung  women. 
One  of  them,  known  as  Virginia  Sal,  a  red  haired  lady,  it  is 
related,  was  the  first  to  fall  in  the  battle,  and  was  buried  in 
the  same  grave  with  Ferguson,  as  some  assert ;  or,  as  others 
have  it,  beside  the  British  and  Tory  slain ;  while  the  other, 
Virginia  Paul,  survived  the  action  ;  and  after  it  was  over, 
was  seen  to  ride  around. the  camp  as  unconcerned  as  though 
nothing  of  unusual  moment  had  happened.  She  was  con- 
veyed with  the  prisoners  at  least  as  far  as  Burke  Court 
House,  now  Morganton,  North  Carolina,  and  subsequently 
sent  to  Lord  Cornwallis'  army.  \ 

That  almost  envenomed  hate  which  the  mountaineers 
cherished  towards  Ferguson  and  his  Tory  followers,  nerved 
them  to  marvellous  endurance  while  engaged  in  the  battle. 
They  had  eaten  little  or  nothing  since  they  left  the  Cowpens 
some  eighteen  hours  before — much  of  the  time  in  the  rain, 
protecting  their  rifles  and  ammunition  by  divesting  them- 
selves of  their  blankets  or  portions  of  their  clothing  ;  and  they 
had  been,  since  leaving  Green  river,  for  over  forty  hours, 
without  rest  or  repose.  "I  had  no  shoes,"  said  Thomas 
Young,  "  and  of  course  fought  in  the  battle  barefoot,  and, 

■■■  Statement  of  Lewis  Johnson,  a  son  of  the  Lieutenant. 
+  MS.  letter  of  Dr.  W.J.  T.  Miller,  July  30,  1880. 

t  MSS.  of  Dr.  John  H.  Logan;  MS.  letters  of  James  J.  Hampton,  Dr.  C,  L.  Hunter, 
Colonel  J.  R.  Logan,  and  Dr.  W.  J.  T.  Miller. 


when  it  was  over,  my  feet  were  much  lacerated  and  bleed- 
ing." *  Others,  too,  must  have  suffered  from  the  flinty  rocks 
over  which  they  hurriedly  passed  and  re-passed  during  the 
engagement.  As  an  instance  of  the  all-absorbing  effect  of 
the  excitements  surrounding  them,  when  the  next  morning 
the  mountaineers  were  directed  to  discharge  their  guns,  "  I 
fired  my  large  old  musket,"  said  Young,  "  charged  in  time 
of  the  battle  with  two  musket  balls,  as  I  had  done  every  time 
during  the  engagement ;  and  the  recoil,  in  this  case,  was 
dreadful,  but  I  had  not  noticed  it  in  the  action."  f 

Taking  it  for  granted  that  the  Loj'alist  force  under 
Ferguson  at  King's  Mountain  was  eight  hundred,  it  may 
be  interesting  to  state  what  little  is  known  of  the  respective 
numbers  from  the  two  Caroljnas.  In  Lieutenant  Allaire's 
newspaper  narrative,  he  refers  to  the  North  Carolina  regi- 
ment, commanded  by  Colonel  Ambrose  Mills,  as  number- 
ing "  about  three  hundred  men."  A  Loyalist  writer  in  the 
London  Political  Afagazine,  for  April,  1783,  who  appar- 
ently once  resided  in  the  western  part  of  North  Carolina, 
asserts  that  the  Loyalists  of  the  Salisbury  district — which 
embraced  all  the  western  portion  of  the  North  Province — - 
who  were  with  Ferguson,  numbered  four  hundred  and 
eighty.  Deducting  the  absent  foraging  party  under  Colonel 
Moore,  who  was  a  North  Carolinian,  and  whose  detachment 
may  be  presumed  to  have  been  made  up  of  men  from  that 
Province,  we  shall  have  about  the  number  mentioned  by 
Allaire  remaining.  This  would  suggest  that  about  three 
hundred  and  twenty  was  the  strength  of  the  South  Carolina 

As  the  North  Carolina  Tories  were  the  first  to  give  way, 
according  to  Allaire,  and  precipitate  the  defeat  that  followed, 
it  only  goes  to  prove  that  they  were  the  hardest  pressed  by 
Campbell  and  Shelby,  which  is  quite  probable  ;  or,  that  the 
South  Carolinians  had  been  longest  drilled  for  the  service, 

*Rev.  James  H.  Saye's  MS.   conversations   with   Thomas  Young,  of  Union    County, 
South  Carolina,  March  27,  1843. 
+  Saye's  MSS. 

294  KING '  S  MO  UN  TAIN 

and  were  consequently  best  prepared  to  maintain  their 
ground.  It  is  not  a  little  singular,  that  so  few  of  the  promi- 
nent Loyalist  leaders,  of  the  Ninety  Six  district,  were  pre- 
sent with  Ferguson — only  Colonel  Vesey  Husband,  of 
whom  we  have  no  knowledge,  and  who,  we  suppose,  was 
in  some  way  associated  with  the  South  Carolina  Tories,  to- 
gether with  Majors  Lee  and  Plummer.  Where  were  the 
other  Loyalist  leaders  of  that  region — Colonels  Cunningham, 
Kirkland,  and  Clarj',  Lieutenant-Colonels  Philips  and 
Turner,  and  Majors  Gibbs,  Hill,  and  Hamilton  ?  Some 
were  doubtless  with  the  partj'  whom  the  Whigs  had  passed 
at  Major  Gibbs'  plantation,  near  the  Cowpens,  or  possibly 
with  Colonel  Moore's  detachment ;  others  were  scattered 
here  and  there  on  furlough ;  but  they  were  not  at  King's 
Mountain,  when  sorely  needed,  with  all  the  strength  they 
could  have  brought  to  the  indefatigable  Ferguson.  That 
freebooter.  Fanning,  with  his  Tory  foragers,  who  were 
beating  about  the  country,  fell  in  with  Ferguson  five  days 
before  his  defeat ;  *  but  preferring  their  independent  bush- 
whacking service,  they  escaped  the  King's  Mountain 

Paine,  in  his  American  Crisis,  berated  the  Loyalists  as 
wanting  in  manhood  and  bravery,  declaring:  "  I  should 
not  be  afraid  to  go  with  an  hundred  Whigs  against  a  thous- 
and Tories.  Every  Tory  is  a  coward,  for  a  servile,  slavish, 
self-interested  fear  is  the  foundation  of  Toryism ;  and  a 
man  under  such  influence,  though  he  may  be  cruel,  can 
never  be  brave."  Yet,  it  must  be  confessed,  that  the 
Loyalists  evinced  no  little  pluck  and  bravery  at  King's 
Mountain.  But  they  had  been  specially  fitted  for  the 
service,  and  under  the  eye  of  a  superior  drill-master,  as  few 
Americans  had  been  in  either  army ;  and  it  had  been  justly 
said,  that,  on  this  occasion,  they  fought  with  halters  around 
their  necks  ;    and  they,  too,  were  expert  riflemen. 

The  British  Southern  leaders  were   not  only  surprised 

'■' Fanning's  Narrative,  13. 


and  amazed  beyond  measure,  but  were  filled  with  alarm  at 
the  unexpected  appearance  of  so  formidable  a  force — 
largely  exaggerated  as  it  was — -from  border  settlements 
of  which  they  had  not  so  much  as  heard  of  their  existence. 
Lord  Rawdon,  in  his  letter  of  October  twenty-fourth,  1780, 
referring  to  Ferguson's  miscarriage,  and  the  men  who 
confronted  and  defeated  him,  says:  "  A  numerous  army 
now  appeared  on  the  frontier,  drawn  from  Nolachucky, 
and  other  settlements  beyond  the  mountains,  whose  very 
names  had  been  unknown  to  us ;  "  and  Mackenzie,  one 
of  Tarleton's  officers,  probabl}^  mistaking  Nolachucky,  in 
what  is  now  East  Tennessee,  for  Kentucky,  states  in  his 
Strictures :  "The  wild  and  fierce  inhabitants  of  Kentucky, 
and  other  settlements  westward  of  the  Alleghany  mount- 
ains, under  Colonels  Campbell  and  Boone,"  then  naming 
the  other  leaders,  "  assembled  suddenly  and  silently  ;  "  and 
adding,  that  these  mountaineers  "  advanced  with  the  inten- 
tion to  seize  upon  a  quantity  of  Indian  presents,  which  they 
understood  were  but  slightly  guarded  at  Augusta,  and  which 
were,  about  that  time,  to  have  been  distributed  among  a 
body  of  Creek  and  Cherokee  Indians  assembled  at  that 

This  erroneous  statement  -of  Mackenzie's  has  been 
adopted  by  Stedman  in  his  History  of  the  Atnerican  War, 
and  by  Dr.  Ferguson,  in  his  Memoir  of  Colonel  Ferguson. 
So  cridcal  a  student  of  American  history  as  Gen.  J.  W. 
DePeyster,  has  fallen  into  the  error,  that  the  ' '  dark  and 
bloody  ground"  of  Kentucky  contributed  her  quota  of 
fighting  men  for  King's  Mountain  battle.*  But  none  of  the 
King's  Mountain  men  came  from  that  region,  though  many 
of  them  subsequently  became  permanent  settlers  there  ;  and 
so  far  from  Colonel  Boone  having  participated  in  the  cam- 
paign, he  was  hundreds  of  miles  away,  in  his  beloved 
Kentucky.  The  day  before  King's  Mountain  battle,  while 
he  and  his  brother,  Edward  Boone,  were  out  buffalo  hunting, 

=!'  Historical  Magazine,  March,  1869.  p.  T90. 

296  KING'S  MO Ux\ TAIN 

the  latter  was  shot  dead  by  a  party  of  Indians,  concealed  in 
a  cane-brake,  some  fifteen  or  twenty  miles  from  Boonesboro, 
and  the  former  made  good  his  escape  to  that  settlement ; 
and,  the  day  of  the  contest  on  King's  Mountain,  he  was  with 
a  party  in  pursuit  of  the  Indians  who  laad  killed  his  brother. 
Nor  is  it  in  any  sense  true,  that  the  plunder  of  Indian  goods 
at  Augusta  was  their  object — all  the  facts  go  to  disprove  anj^ 
such  intention.  This,  however,  seems  to  have  been  one  of 
the  motives  held  out  by  Colonel  Clarke  to  his  men  in  his 
attack  on  Augusta,  as  stated  by  Lee  in  his  Memoirs. 

There  is  no  great  discrepancy  among  the  different 
authorities  as  to  the  length  of  time  occupied  by  the  engage- 
ment— if  we  discard,  as  we  must,  Mills'  inordinate  mistake, 
that  "the  battle  began  between  eight  and  nine  o'clock  in 
the  morning,  and  lasted  till  night."  A  writer  in  the 
Virginia  Argus,  of  December  eleventh,  1805,  evidently  a 
survivor  of  Campbell's  men,  says,  "  in  forty-two  minutes  we 
made  tliem  beg  for  quarters,"  referring,  doubtless,  to  the 
time  of  Ferguson's  fall,  and  the  running  up  of  the  white 
flag.  General  Davidson,  in  his  letter  to  General  Sumner, 
states,  three  days  after  the  action,  on  the  authority  of 
Major  Tate,  of  Lacej^'s  corps,  who  was  in  the  engage- 
ment, that  it  lasted  "forty-seven  minutes."  Lee,  in  his 
History  of  the  Soitthern  Campaigns,  who  was  subsequently 
associated  in  service  with  Campbell,  declares  that  after 
"the  battle  had  raged  for  fifty  minutes,''  Ferguson  was 
shot,  when  the  fire  of  the  enemy  slackened,  and  their  sur- 
render followed.  Burk,  in  his  History  of  Virginia,  makes 
the  same  statement.  This  fixes  the  time,  as  nearly  as  we 
can  ascertain  it,  when  Ferguson  fell.  There  would  seem 
to  have  been  but  little  resistance  on  the  part  of  the  enemy 
after  the  loss  of  their  commander  ;  it  could  have  been  pro- 
longed a  few  minutes  only  at  m.ost.  Both  Tarleton  and 
Stedman,  British  authorities,  state  that  the  action  lasted 
"  near  an  hour." 

In  Colonel  Shelby's  letter  to  his  father,  written  October 
twelfth,  1780,  he  sa3rs  :  "  the  battle  continued  warm  for  an 


hour ;  "  and  he  wrote  the  same  day  to  Colonel  Arthur 
Campbell,  that  "  the  firing  was  kept  up  with  fury,  on  both 
sides,  for  near  an  hour."  But  Campbell,  Shelby,  and 
Cleveland,  in  their  official  account,  assert  that  "  a  flag  was 
hoisted  by  Captain  DePeyster,  their  commanding  officer — 
Major  Ferguson  having  been  killed  a  little  while  before  ;  " 
that  "  the  engagement  lasted  an  hour  and  five  minutes."  The 
British  Captain  Ryerson  who  shared  in  the  contest,  states  in 
his  account  in  Rivingston's  New  York  Royal  Gazette^  of 
March  twentj^-first,  1781 ,  that  "  the  action  lasted  an  hour  and 
five  minutes,  very  hot  indeed  ;  "  and  Lieutenant  Allaire,  an- 
other British  contestant,  says,  in  his  newspaper  narrative, 
that  "  the  action  was  severe  for  upwards  of  an  hour ;  "  and, 
in  his  MS.  Diary,  he  is  more  explicit,  stating  that  it  lasted  "  an 
hour  and  five  minutes."  The  probabilities  are  that  Doctor 
Johnson,  who  timed  by  his  watch  the  last  desperate  attack 
of  Campbell's  and  Shelby's  corps,  also  noted  the  duration 
of  the  battle,  from  its  commencement  to  the  final  suppression 
of  the  firing  on  the  Tories ;  and  that  Campbell  and  his 
associates  derived  from  him  their  knowledge  of  the  length 
of  the  engagement,  and  which  may  be  regarded  as  correct. 
The  exact  strength  and  losses  of  the  British  at  King's 
Mountain  can  only  be  approximately  determined.  Fer- 
guson's Rangers  may  be  set  down  at  one  hundred — though 
they  may  have  somewhat  exceeded  that  figure.  The 
general  estimate  is,  in  round  numbers,  one  thousand  militia 
or  Loyalists,  which  would  make  a  total  of  eleven  hundred  ; 
or,  perhaps  eleven  hundred  and  twenty-five,  as  the  American 
official  report  has  it,  founded  on  the  provision  returns  of  that 
day.  In  General  Lenoir's  account  it  is  stated,  that  "not 
a  single  man  of  them  escaped  that  was  in  camp  at  the 
commencement  of  the  battle."  This  is  probably  true,  and 
goes  to  show  that  the  party  of  foragers  who  returned  at  the 
close  of  the  battle  and  fired  on  the  Americans,  mortally 
wounding  Colonel  Williams,  had  left  previously  without 
coming  under  this  category.  It  is  pretty  evident  that 
a  detachment  left  camp  that  morning — doubtless  on  a  for- 


aging  expedition ;  and  this  returning  party  were  probably 
a  portion  of  the  number.  Gordon,  in  his  American  War. 
usually  good  authority,  says  four  hundred  and  forty  escaped  ; 
and  Haywood's  Tennessee  gives  the  same  statement,  evi- 
dently copied  from  Gordon  ;  while  Mills'  Statisties  of  South 
Carolina  gives  the  number  as  three  hundred.  Judge 
Johnson,  in  \\\^  Life  of  General  Greene^  says  two  hundred 
escaped  ;  and  this  accords  with  the  statement  of  Alexander 
Greer,  one  of  Sevier's  men,  who  adds  that  they  were  under 
Colonel    Moore,*  perhaps  the  Tor}^  commander    at    Ram- 

*  Whether  Colonel  John  or  Patrick  Moore  is  the  one  referred  to,  is  not  certain — prob- 
ably the  former,  as  Colonel  Ferguson  seemed  not  to  have  formed  a  good  opinion  of  the 
conduct  of  Patrick  Moore  in  failing  to  defend  Thicketty  Fort  the  preceding  July.  Moses 
Moore,  the  father  of  Colonel  John  Moore,  was  a  native  of  Carlisle,  England,  whence  he 
migrated  to  Virginia  in  1745,  marrying  a  Miss  Winston,  near  Jamestown,  in  that  Province  ; 
and  in  1753,  settling  in  what  is  now  Gaston  County,  North  Carolina,  eight  miles  west  of 
Lincolnton.  Here  John  Moore  was  born;  and  being  a  frontier  country,  when  old  enough 
he  was  sent  to  Granville  County,  in  that  Province,  for  his  education.  When  the  Revolution 
broke  out,  he  became  a  zealous  Loyalist  ;  and  led  a  party  of  Tories  from  Tryon  County,  in 
February,  1779,  to  Georgia,  and  uniting  with  Colonel  Boyd  on  the  way,  they  were  defeated 
by  Colonel  Pickens  at  Kettle  Creek.  Boyd  was  mortally  wounded,  and  Moore  escaped  to 
the  British  army  in  that  quarter  ;  and  is  said  to  have  participated  in  the  defence  of  Savan- 
nah. In  December  following,  he  was  in  the  service  near  Moscley's  Ferry,  on  the  Ogeechee. 
He  subsequently  returned  to  North  Carolina,  a  Lieutenant-Colonel  in  Hamilton's 
corps  of  Loyalists,  and  prematurely  embodied  a  Tory  force,  near  Camp  Branch,  about  half 
a  mile  west  of  his  father's  residence  ;  thence  marched  about  six  miles  north  to  Tory 
Branch,  and  thence  to  Ramsour's  Mill,  on  the  South  Fork,  where  he  was  disastrously 
defeated.  June  20th,  1780,  escaping  with  thirty  others  to  Camden  His  regiment,  the 
Royal  North  Carolinians,  participated  in  Gates'  defeat,  losing  three  killed  and  fourteen 
wounded -among  the  latter,  Colonel  Hamilton.  It  is  doubtful  if  Moore  participated  in  the 
action,  as  he  was  about  that  time  under  suspension,  threatened  with  a  court  martial  for 
disobedience  of  orders  in  raising  the  Loyalists  at  Ramsour's  before  thetime  appointed  by 
Lord  Cornwallis  ;  but  it  was  at  length  deemed  impolitic  to  bring  him  to  trial.  Escaping 
from  King's  Mountain,  we  next  find  him  with  Captain  Waters,  and  a  body  of  Tories, 
defeated  by  Colonel  Washington  at  Hammond's  Store,  South  Carolina,  December  28th, 
1780  Thoueh  a  family  tradition  coming  down  from  a  sister  to  her  grandson,  John  H. 
Roberts,  of  Gaston  County,  represents  that  Moore  went  to  Carlisle.  England,  and  was  lost 
track  of:  yet  the  better  opinion  is  founded  on  a  statement  by  a  North  Carolina  Loyalist, 
piihli<;hed  in  the  Pah'ticnl  Ma^azinP.  London,  April.  1783.  that  he  was  taken  prisoner  by 
Colonel  Wade  Hampton,  near  the  Wateree,  and  hanged.     Ke  left  no  family. 

A  few  words  about  Colonel  Patrick  Mooff^  may  not  be  inappropriate  in  this  connection. 
He  was  of  Irish  descent,  and  a  native  of  Virginia.  He  early  .settled  on  Thicketty  creek  in 
the  north-western  part  of  South  Carolina,  where  he  commanded  Fort  Anderson  or  Thicketty 
Fort,  which  he  surrendered,  without  firing  a  gun  to  Colnnel  Shelby  and  associates.  He 
was  subsequently  captured  by  a  party  of  Americans,  according  to  the  tradition  in  his 
family,  near  Ninety  Six.  and  was  supposed  to  have  been  killed  by  his  captors,  as  his  remains 
were  afterwards  found,  and  recognized  bv  his  ereat  height — six  feet  and  seven  inches.  His 
death  probably  occurred  in  t-j8i.  He  left  a  widow,  who  survived  many  years,  a  son  and 
three  daughters;  and  hjis  decendants  in  South  Carolina  and  Georgia  are  very  worthy 


sour's   Mill.     Joseph    Kerr,    one   of  Williams'  men,  after 

enumerating  the  killed  and  prisoners  of  the  enemy,  adds 

"  the  balance  escaped."  General  Alexander  Smythe,  who 
lived  on  the  Holston,  said  in  a  speech  in  Congress,  in  1829, 
"  only  twenty-one  escaped  " — referring,  perhaps,  to  that 
party  of  foragers  who  mortally  wounded  Colonel  Williams. 
Andrews,  in  his  History  of  the  War,  says  "very  few 
escaped ;"  and  Tarleton  mentions  about  picking  up  some 
of  the  fugitives. 

We  may  conclude  that  Moore's  foraging  detachment 
numbered  about  two  hundred  ;  which  would  have  left  about 
nine  hundred  altogether  under  Ferguson  with  whom  to 
fight  the  battle.  The  British  Lieutenant  Allaire  says,  the 
Loyalists  consisted  of  eight  hundred,  and  Ferguson's  corps 
of  one  hundred,  *  which  tallies  pretty  well  with  Tarleton's 
account  in  his  Southern  Campaigns,  of  about  one  thousand 
Loyal  militia,  supposing  that  two  hundred  of  them  were  on 
detached  service  at  the  time  of  the  battle ;  and  it  agrees 
also  with  Lord  Rawdon's  statement,  made  towards  the  close 
of  October,  that  Ferguson  had  "about  eight  hundred 
militia  "  in  the  engagement — to  this,  of  course,  should  be 
added  his  one  hundred  Provincial  Rangers.  Allaire,  and 
other  British  writers,,  assuming  as  true  that  the  exaggerated 
account  of  the  entire  Whig  strength,  including  those  in  the 
rear,  was  well-nigh  three  thousand,  assign  as  a  reason  of 
their  overwhelming  defeat,  the  great  superiority  of  their 
antagonists — three  to  one,  as  they  assert,  against  them.  In 
point  of  fact,  the  numbers  of  the  opposing  forces  were  about 
equal ;  and  it  was  their  persistency,  their  pluck,  and  excel- 
ling in  the  use  of  the  rifle,  that  gave  the  mountaineers  the 

Both  in  Allaire's   New  York    Gazette  and   MS.  Diary 

*  Allaire's  account  in  the  New  York  Royal  Gazette,  February  24,  1781  :  and  in  his  MS. 
Diary,  kindly  communicated  by  his  grandson,  J,  DeLancey  Robinson,  of  New  Brunswick. 
Stfedman  gives  Ferguson's  as  nine  hundred  and  sixty;  Mrs.  Warren,  in  her  History  of  the 
Revolution,  eight  hundred  and  fifty.  The  British  historian.  Andrews,  in  his  History  of  tlie 
JVa-r,  still  further  diminishes  the  number — killed  and  wounded  upwards  of  three  hundred, 
and  four  hundred  prisoners. 


accounts,  he  states  that  the  British  lost  on  the  field  and 
in  prisoners,  as  follows  :  Of  the  Provincial  corps,  Colonel 
Ferguson,  Lieutenant  McGinnis  and  eighteen  privates, 
total,  twenty  killed  ;  Captain  Ryerson  and  thirty-two  Ser- 
geants and  privates,  total,  thirty-three  wounded — making  the 
killed  and  wounded  together,  fifty-three ;  two  Captains, 
four  Lieutenants,  three  Ensigns,  one  Surgeon,  and  fifty-four 
Sergeants  and  privates,  including  the  wounded,  making  a 
total  of  sixty-four  prisoners — showing,  according  to  this 
account,  only  thirty-one  of  Ferguson's  corps  who  escaped 
being  killed  or  wounded.  This,  however,  is  a  manifest 
error,  for  the  fiftj^-three  killed  and  wounded,  and  thirty-one 
uninjured  men  would  add  up  only  eighty-four,  whereas. 
Lieutenant  Allaire  concedes  that  there  were,  at  the  com- 
mencement of  the  battle,  one  hundred  of  Ferguson's  corps. 
In  this  estimate  of  prisoners,  he  did  not  probably  include 
the  survivors  of  Lieutenant  Taylor's  twenty  dragoons,  and 
ten  wagoners,  taken  from  the  Rangers — more  than  enough 
to  make  up  the  full  complement  assigned  to  the  Provin- 
cials by  that  officer.  He  also  states,  that  the  Loyalists 
lost  "in  officers  and  privates,  one  hundred  killed,  ninety 
wounded,  and  about  six  hundred  prisoners."  Reckoning 
the  prisoners  at  six  hundred  and  ten,  and  the  killed  and 
wounded  as  Allaire  reports  them,  would  make  up  the  full 
amount  of  the  supposable  Tory  force — eight  hundred. 

It  is  stated  in  the  official  report  of  Campbell  and  his 
associates,  that  of  Ferguson's  corps  nineteen  were  killed, 
and  thirty-five  wounded — exceeding  Allaire's  account  by 
one  only ;  but  making  of  the  officers  and  privates  sixty- 
eight  prisoners,  which  would  seem  to  have  included  onl}^  a 
part  of  the  wounded  ;  that  the  Tories  had  two  hundred  and 
six  killed,  one  hundred  and  twenty-eight  wounded,  and 
forty-eight  ofliicers  and  six  hundred  privates  made  prisoners 
— thus  accounting  for  a  total  of  Provincials  and  Loyalists 
of  eleven  hundred  and  three. 

Only  five  days  after  the   battle.   Colonel    Shelby,  in    a 


letter  to  his  father,  stated  the  loss  of  Ferguson's  corps  at 
thirty  killed,  twenty-eight  wounded,  and  fifty-seven  prison- 
ers ;  that  the  Tories  had  one  hundred  and  twenty-seven 
killed,  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  wounded,  and  six 
hundred  and  forty -nine  prisoners  ;  or  both  classed  together, 
one  hundred  and  fifty-seven  killed,  one  hundred  and  fifty- 
three  wounded,  and  seven  hundred  and  six  prisoners — total, 
one  thousand  and  sixteen.  Here  is  a  difference  of  the 
killed  of  the  Tories  alone,  of  seventy-nine,  between  Shelby's 
statement  to  his  father,  and  the  official  account,  which  he  is 
supposed  to  have  drawn  up,  and  signed  a  few  days  later,  in 
conjunction  with  Campbell  and  Cleveland.  This  discrep- 
ancy is  unaccountable,  except  on  the  supposition  that  the 
official  statement  was  designed,  as  Colonel  Shelby  alleges 
in  his  narrative  of  1823,  to  "give  tone  to  public  report," 
and  confessing,  withal,  that  it  was  "inaccurate  and 
indefinite."  The  probabilities  are  that  the  figures  of  the 
patriots,  as  to  the  extent  of  the  losses  of  the  enemy,  were 
considerabl}^  over-estimated  for  public  effect ;  and  that  the 
prisoners  were  somewhat  "  upward  of  six  hundred."  as 
stated  in  General  Greene's  manuscripts,*  and  which  Allaire 
practically  confirms  by  stating  that  they  were  "  about  six 

"  Exaggeration  of  successful  operations,"  wrote  Colonel 
Lee  to  General  Greene,  "  was  characteristic  of  the  times  ;  "  f 
and  this  was,  perhaps,  excusable  in  this  instance,  since  a 
total  defeat  of  the  enemy,  like  that  of  Ferguson's  at  King's 
Mountain,  was  a  circumstance  of  rare  occurrence,  and  the 
Whigs  pi-obably  thought  it  was  well  to  make  the  most  of  it 
to  revive  the  drooping  spirits  of  the  people.  Love  of 
country  predominated  over  any  mere  questions  of  casuistry  ; 
and  thus  Shelby  and  his  associates  were  not  over-nice  about 
the  matter  of  the  enemy's  numbers,  so  that  they  were  only 
represented  sufficientlj^  large  to  make  a  decided  impression 

*  Greene's  Life  of  General  Greene^  iii,  78. 
■{■Greene's   Greene,  iii,  222. 


on  the  minds  of  all  classes,  encouraging  the  friends  of  free- 
dom, and  equally  depressing  their  enemies. 

Of  the  killed  and  wounded  of  the  Americans,  it  is  less 
difficult  to  get  at  the  facts  ;  or  at  least  they  are  not  involved 
in  such  contradictor}^  statements  as  those  relating  to  the 
British  losses.  Colonel  Shelby,  in  his  letter  to  his  father, 
October  twelfth,  1780,  mentions  six  officers  and  twenty  three 
privates  killed,  and  fifty-four  wounded  ;  but  adds,  that  he 
believes,  with  more  accurate  returns,  the  killed  will  prove 
to  be  thirty-five,  and  the  wounded  between  fifty  and  sixty. 
Colonel  Campbell,  in  his  letter  of  October  twentieth,  places 
the  number  at  about  thirty  killed,  and  sixty  wounded. 
In  the  official  report,  made  out  apparently  somewhat  later, 
and  hence  more  reliable,  the  killed  are  stated  at  twenty- 
eight,  and  the  wounded  at  sixty-two. 

In  the  command  of  Williams,  Brandon,  Steen  and  Ham- 
mond, we  have  no  record  of  any  loss  save  that  of  their 
gallant  leader,  and  the  person,  whose  name  is  unknown, 
who  had  a  presentiment  of  his  death  ;  and  William  Giles, 
as  already  related,  slightly  wounded.  Among  the  South 
Carolinians  under  Lacey  and  Hawthorn,  no  killed  are 
reported,  save,  perhaps,  David  Duff  and  William  Watson, 
who  probably  belonged  to  this  corps,  and  but  one  wounded, 
Robert  Miller,  of  Chester  County,  who  was  badly  disabled 
in  his  thigh.  In  both  of  these  commands  there  were  prob- 
ably other  losses.  Of  the  Rutherford  men  under  Colonel 
Hampton,  John  Smart  *  and  Preston  Goforth  were  killed, 
and  Major  James  Porter  and  William  Robertson  wounded  ; 
but  of  McDowell's  Burke  County  men,  we  have  no  know- 
ledge of  any  deaths  or  disabilities. 

The  Lincoln  County  men,  considering  their  small  num- 
ber, suffered  considerably  in  the  engagement — Major 
Chronicle,  Captain  Mattocks,  William  Rabb,  John  Boyd, 
and  Arthur  Patterson,  killed,   and  Moses    Henry    mortally 

*  Smart  was  killed  by  a  Tory  named  Hughes.  In  after  years,  John  Smart  Jr.  hearing 
of  Hughes  in  West  Tennessee,  started  on  a  mission  to  seek  the  Tory's  life,  but  never 
returned, — W.  L.  Twitty, 


wounded ;  Lieutenant-Colonel  Hambright,  Captain  Espey, 
Robert  Henry,  William  Gilmer,  John  Chittim,  *  and 
William  Bradley,  wounded.  There  must  have  been  other 
losses ;  for  of  Captain  Samuel  Martin's  company  of  about 
twenty  men,  he  relates  in  his  pension  statement,  that  four 
were  killed,  and  two  mortally  wounded. 

Of  Sevier's  regiment,  William  Steele,  John  Brown, 
and  Michael  Mahoney,  are  known  to  have  lost  their  lives  in 
the  contest ;  while  Captain  Sevier  was  mortally,  and  one 
Gilleland  and  Patrick  Murphy  severely  wounded.  Near 
the  close  of  the  action.  Captain  Sevier,  while  stooping  to 
pick  up  his  ramrod,  received  a  buck-shot  wound  near  his 
kidney ;  after  the  action,  the  British  Surgeon,  Doctor 
Johnson,  endeavored  to  extract  the  shot,  but  failed  in  the 
effort;  dressed  his  wound,  saying  if  he  would  remain 
quiet  awhile,  the  shot  could  be  extracted,  and  he  would 
probably  recover ;  but  if  he  attempted  to  return  home  at 
once,  his  kidneys  would  inflame,  and  about  the  ninth  day 
he  would  expire.  Fearing  to  be  left  behind,  lest  the  Tories 
might  wreak  their  vengeance  on  him,  he  started  on  horse- 
back for  his  Nolachucky  home,  accompanied  by  his 
nephew,  James  Sevier.  On  the  ninth  day,  when  at  Bright's 
Place  on  the  Yellow  Mountain,  preparing  their  frugal  meal, 
he  was  suddenly  taken  worse,  and  died  within  an  hour,  and 
his  remains,  wrapped  in  his  blanket,  were  interred  beneath 
a  lofty  mountain  oak. 

After  the  battle,  among  the  stores  captured  from  the 
enemy  was  a  keg  of  rum,  some  of  which  was  conveyed  to 
the  wounded  Pat  Murphy,  with  which  to  bathe  his  wound. 
He  had  been  shot  across  the  windpipe  in  front,  cutting  it 
considerably.  Pat  held  the  cup  while  a  companion  gave 
the  wound  a  faithful  bathmg  ;  this  done,  he  swallowed  the 
remainder,  remarking  with  much  sang  froid,  "a  little  in 
was  as  good  as  out."  \ 

*  Chittim  was  placed  on  the    invahd  roll   of  pensioners  in    1815,    drawing   seventy-two 
dollars  a  year,  till  his  death,  December  24,  1818. 

f  Statement  of  the  late  Major  John  Sevier,  a  son  of  Colonel  Sevier. 


Colonel  Shelby's  regiment  no  doubt  suffered  from  losses 
in  the  action  ;  but  the  particulars  are  wanting,  save  that 
Captain  Shelby,  William  Cox,  and  John  Fagon  were 
wounded.  As  Shelby's  men  encountered  hard  fighting,  and 
were  repeatedly  charged  down  the  mountain,  they  must 
necessarily  have  lost  some  of  their  number,  and  had  more 
wounded  than  the  three  whose  names  are  mentioned. 

Of  the  Wilkes  and  Surry  men,  under  Cleveland  and 
Winston,  we  have  only  the  names  of  two  men  killed — 
Thomas  Bicknell,  and  Daniel  Siske,  of  Wilkes  County; 
Major  Lewis,  Captains  Lewis,  Smith,  and  Lenoir,  Lieu- 
tenants Johnson  and  J.  M.  Smith,  Charles  Gordon,  and 
John  Childers  wounded — the  latter  badly.  Where  so  many 
officers  were  disabled,  there  must  have  been  several  others 
of  this  gallant  regiment  killed  and  wounded. 

Colonel  Campbell's  Virginians,  who  fought  so  nobly  and 
persistently  throughout  the  action,  met  with  severer  losses 
than  any  other  regiment  engaged  in  this  hard  day's  contest. 
Of  the  killed  were  Captain  William  Edmondson,  Lieutenants 
Reece  Bowen,  William  Blackburn,  and  Robert  Edmondson, 
Sr.,  Ensigns  Andrew  Edmondson,  John  Beattie,  James 
Corry,  Nathaniel  Dryden,  Nathaniel  Gist,  James  Philips, 
and  Humberson  Lyon,  and  private  Henry  Henigar. 
Lieutenant  Thomas  McCulloch,  and  Ensign  James  Laird, 
who  were  mortally  wounded,  died  a  few  days  thereafter. 
Captain  James  Dysart,  Lieutenants  Samuel  Newell,  Robert 
Edmondson,  Jr.,  and  eighteen  privates  wounded,*  of  whom 
were  Fredrick  Fisher,  John  Skeggs  Benoni  Banning, 
Charles  Kilgore,  William  Bullen,  Leonard  Hvce,  Israel 
Havter,  and  William  Moore,  who  recovered.  The  names 
of  the  other  ten  disabled  Virginians  have  not  been  preserved. 

So  badly  wounded  was  William  Moore,  that  his  leg  had 
to  be  amputated  on   the  field.      He  was  necessarily  left  at 

*  Samuel  Newell's  letter  to  Getieral  Francis  Preston,  states  that  Campbell's  regiment 
had  thirty-five  killed  and  wounded.  As  fourteen  were  killed  including  two  officers  who 
shortly  after  died  of  their  wounds,  it  would  leave  twenty-one  wounded,  three  of  whom 
were  officers. 


some  good  Samaritan's ;  but  when  his  associates  returned 
to  their  distant  Holston  homes,  and  told  the  story  of  their 
victory,  and  its  cost  in  life  and  suffering,  his  devoted  wife, 
on  learning  her  husband's  terrible  misfortune,  though  in  the 
month  of  November,  mounted  her  horse  and  rode  all  the 
long  and  dreary  journey  to  the  neighborhood  of  King's 
Mountain — such  was  the  intrepidity  of  the  frontier  women, 
as  well  as  the  men,  of  those  trying  times  ;  and  having  nursed 
him  until  sufficiently  recovered,  she  conveyed  him  home,  and 
he  lived  to  a  good  old  age,  *  dying  in  1826,  after  having 
received  from  the  Government  an  invalid  pension  for  thirty- 
seven  years. 

It  is  remarkable,  that  thirteen  officers  to  only  a  single 
private  of  Campbell's  men,  were  killed  or  mortally  wounded 
during  the  battle — nearly  one-half  of  the  fatalities  of  the 
whole  Whig  force  engaged  in  the  contest.  This  disparity  of 
losses  between  the  leaders  and  privates  is  a  striking  proof 
how  fearlessly  the  officers  exposed  themselves  in  rallying 
the  regiment  when  broken,  and  leading  on  their  men  by 
their  valor  and  heroic  examples  to  victory.  One-third  of 
the  wounded  were  of  Campbell's  regiment.  Another 
remarkable  fact  is,  that  of  eight  Edmondsons  of  the 
Virginia  troops,  engaged  that  day,  three  were  killed,  and 
one  was  wounded — all  prominent  and  efficient  officers  of 
that  corps  ;  the  survivors  having  been  WilHam  Edmondson, 
the  major  of  the  regiment,  and  privates  John,  Samuel,  and 
William  Edmondson. 

Thus  the  names  of  those  who  fell  and  those  who  were 
disabled,  of  the  several  Whig  regiments,  so  far  as  we  have 
been  able  to  collect  them,  number  twenty-six  killed,  and 
a  nameless  one  of  Hammond's  men,  who  fell,  who  had  a 
premonition  of  his  fate ;  and  thirty-six  wounded.  There 
must  have  been  several  others  killed,  beside  those  whose 
names  are  given  in  the  several  lists,   and  some  twenty-six 

»  MS.  Statements  of  the  late  Governor  David  Campbell,  and  \Vm.  G.  G.  Lowry,  Clerk 
of  the  Court  of  Washington  County,  Virginia— the  latter  a  great  grandson  of  this  patriotic 


306  KING '  6"  MO  UNTAIN 

additional  ones  wounded.  It  does  not  appear  that  there  was 
a  single  Surgeon  among  the  Americans,  and  Doctor  Johnson 
only,  of  three  Surgeons  of  Ferguson's  men,  survived,  who 
seems  to  have  generously  attended  the  wounded  of  the 
Whigs,  as  well  as  those  of  his  own  corps.  But  the  frontier 
people  were  much  accustomed,  from  necessity,  with  splints, 
bandages,  and  slippery  elm  poultices,  to  treating  gun-shot 
wounds  and  other  disabilities. 

Not  very  long  after  the  close  of  the  action.  Captain  John 
Weir,  of  that  part  of  Lincoln  now  comprising  Gaston 
County,  arrived  with  his  company,  having  heard  of  the 
advance  of  the  mountaineers  ;  and  may  have  heard,  in  the 
distance,  the  reports  of  the  eighteen  hundred  rifles  and 
muskets  of  the  Whigs  and  Tories  that  reverberated  from 
King's  Mountain  over  the  surrounding  country.*  Captain 
Robert  Shannon,  a  brave,  also  of  Lincoln  County, 
hastened  with  his  compan)^  likewise  to  the  field  of  battle. 
And  not  a  few  of  the  scattered  settlers  of  that  region,  men 
and  women,  repaired  to  the  battle-ground  to  learn  the  news, 
and  render  whatever  aid  they  could  under  the  circum- 
stances. Among  them  was  Mrs.  Ellen  McDowell,  and  her 
daughter  Jane,  having  heard  the  firing  from  their  house, 
went  to  the  scene  of  strife,  where  they  remained  several 
days  nursing  and  attending  to  the  wounded  soldiers. 

After  the  battle  quite  a  number  were  appointed  to  count 
up  the  losses  ;  but  their  reports  were  so  contradictory  that 
little  reliance  could  be  placed  in  them — apparently  repeating 
the  process   of  counting  them,  in  some  instances,   so  that 

■■■■  Captain  Weir  was  born  in  Ireland,  in  1743,  where  he  early  married  a  Miss  McKelvey, 
Their  eldest  son  was  born  in  Ireland,  soon  after  which  they  emigrated  to  America,  set- 
tling on  Buffalo  Creek,  at  what  is  now  known  as  Weir's  Bridge,  in  Gaston  County,  North 
Carolina.  Weir  was  early  commissioned  a  Captain,  and  was  much  engaged  in  scouting 
service  during  the  Revolution.  His  activity  in  the  Whig  cause  excited  the  ire  of  the 
Tories.  Just  before  the  battle  of  the  Cowpens,  he  was  caught  and  severely  whipped  by  a 
Tory  party,  and  left  in  the  woods  securely  tied  to  a  tree;  but  w.ts  fortunately  soon  after 
found,  and  released  by  his  friends.  On  another  occasion,  his  wife  was  whipped  by  the 
Tories  for  refusing  to  divulge  to  them  the  place  of  her  husband's  concealment.  She  died, 
August  ir,  1819,  and  he  on  the  4th  of  September  following,  in  his  seventy-sixth  year.  Both 
were  long  members  of  the    Presbyterian  church,  and  left  many  worthy  descendants. 


the  aggregate  results  greatly  exceeded  the  facts  in  the  case. 
Among  the  natural  rocky  defenses,  where  many  of  the 
Tories  had  posted  themselves,  upwards  of  twenty  of  their 
dead  bodies  were  found,  completel}^  jammed  in  between  the 
rocks,  who  had  been  shot  directly  through  the  head  *  — 
so  fatally  accurate  was  the  aim  of  the  mountain-riflemen 
when  their  antagonists  ventured  to  peep  out  from  their 
chosen  fastnesses. 

Some  considerable  time  was  necessarily  employed  in 
getting  the  prisoners  properly  secured,  and  in  giving  such 
attention  to  the  wounded  Whigs  as  the  circumstances  would 
permit ;  Colonel  Williams  being  taken  into  one  of  the 
British  markees,  as  were  doubtless  many  others.  Doctor 
Johnson,  of  Ferguson's  corps,  seems  to  have  been  the  good 
Samaritan  of  the  occasion,  rendering  such  professional 
services  as  he  could,  alike  to  the  Whigs  and  his  "brother 
Provincials ;  while  the  wounded  of  the  poor  Loyalists 
appear  to  have  been  left  pretty  much  to  their  fate. 

The  truth  is,  that  rarely,  if  ever,  did  a  body  of  eighteen 
hundred  fighting  irien  come  into  conflict,  with  so  litttle  pro- 
visions to  supply  their  wants.  The  Americans,  in  their 
desperate  pursuit  of  the  enemy,  trusting  to  luck,  had  literally 
nothing  ;  while  Ferguson  had  been  scarcely  any  more  prov- 
ident in  securing  needful  supplies.  The  country  in  the 
immediate  vicinity  of  King's  Mountain  was  but  sparsely 
settled  at  that  period.  "  It  was  dark  again  we  got  the 
prisoners  under  guard,"  sa3-s  the  unknown  chronicler  of 
Campbell's  regiment,  who  left  us  his  narrative  of  the 
campaign  and  battle. 

Many  a  souvenir  was  appropriated  by  the  victors. 
Captain  Joseph  McDowefl,  of  Pleasant  Garden,  secured 
some  of  Ferguson's  table  service — six  of  his  china  dinner 
plates,  and  a  small  coffee  cup  and  saucer  ;  several  of  which 
interesting  war  trophies  are  yet  retained  among  his  descend- 
ants.!       Colonel    Shelby    obtained    the    fallen    Chieftain's 

*  Statements  of  Silas  McBee  and  John  Spelts  to  the  author. 

f  MS.  letters  of  Mrs.  R.  M.  Pearson,  and  Miss  N.  M.  McDowell,  grand-daughters,  and 
Miss  Anna  M.  Woodfin,  a  great  grand-daughter,  of  Captain  McDowell. 


famous  silver  whistle,  while  the  smaller  one  fell  to  the  lot  of 
EHas  Powell ;  and  Colonel  Sevier  secured  his  silken  sash, 
and  Lieutenant-Colonel's  commission,  and  DePeyster's 
sword.  Colonel  Campbell  secured  at  least  a  portion  of  his 
correspondence.  Ferguson's  white  charger,  who  had 
careered  down  the  mountain  when  his  master  was  shot  from 
his  back,  was,  by  general  consent,  assigned  to  the  gallant 
Colonel  Cleveland,  who  was  too  unwieldy  to  travel  on  foot, 
and  who  had  lost  his  horse  in  the  action.  Samuel  Talbot, 
turning  over  Ferguson's  dead  body,  picked  up  his  pistol, 
which  had  dropped  from  his  pocket.  His  large  silver  watch, 
as  round  as  a  turnip,  fell  into  the  hands  of  one  of  Lacey's 
men  ;  and  Doctor  Moore,  in  his  Life  of  Lacey,  says  he 
frequently  saw  it ;  that  it  traded  for  about  forty-five  or  fifty 
dollars  as  a  curiosity. 

"  Awful,  indeed,"  says  Thomas  Young,  "  was  the  scene 
of  the  wounded,  the  dying  and  the  dead,  on  the  field,  after 
the  carnage  of  that  dreadful  day."  *  "  We  had,"  observed 
Benjamin  Sharp,  "  to  encamp  on  the  ground  with  the  dead 
and  wounded,  and  pass  the  night  amid  groans  and  lamen- 
tations." t  "  My  father,  David  Witherspoon,"  remarks  his 
son,  "  used  to  describe  the  scenes  of  the  battle-ground  the 
night  after  the  contest  as  heart-rending  in  the  extreme — 
the  groans  of  the  dying,  and  the  constant  cry  of  "water! 
water !  "  \  "The  groans  of  the  wounded  and  dying  on  the 
mountain,"  said  John  Spelts,  "  were  truly  affecting — 
begging  piteously  for  a  little  water  ;  but  in  the  hurry,  con- 
fusion, and  exhaustion  of  the  Whigs,  these  cries,  when 
emanating  from  the  Tories,  were  little  heeded."  § 

"  The  red  rose  grew  pale  at  the  blood  that  was  shed, 
And  the  white  rose  blushed  at  the  shedding.'' 

Such  was  the  night  on  King's  Mountain   immediately 

*  Young's  Memoir  \n  the  Orion  magazine. 
-J- Sharp's  narrative  in  the  American  Pioneer. 

1  MS.  letter   of  Colonel  J.    H.    Witherspoon,    of  Lauderdale   County,  Alabama,  No- 
vember, 1880. 

g  Conversations  with  Spelts,  in  December,  1843. 


succeeding  the  battle.  While  these  surrounding  sufferings 
touched  many  a  heart,  others  had  become  more  or  less 
hardened,  believing,  so  far  as  the  Tories  were  concerned, 
that  their  wretched  condition,  brought  upon  themselves, 
was  a  just  retribution  from  high  heaven  for  their  unnatural 
opposition  to  the  efforts  of  their  countrymen  to  throw  off  the 
chains  of  political  bondage  forged  by  the  British  Govern- 
ment. The  Whigs,  weary  as  they  were,  had  to  take  turns 
in  guarding  the  prisoners,  with  little  or  no  refreshment ; 
and  caring,  as  best  they  could,  for  their  own  over  three- 
score wounded,  with  no  little  fear,  withal,  lest  Tarleton 
should  suddenly  dash  upon  them.  It  was  a  night  of  care, 
anxiety  and  suffering,  vividly  remembered,  and  feelingly 
rehearsed,  as  long  as  any  of  the  actors  were  permitted  to 



October,  1780. 

Battle  Incidents. — Long  Sam  Abney  Coerced  into  Ferguson's  Army. — 
Death  of  Arthur  Patterson. — Drury  Mathis'  Rough  Experience. — 
A  Tory  Wo?nan  Finding  her  Slain  Son. — Fatality  of  the  Riflemen. — 
Preston  Goforth  and  three  Brothers  Killed. — A  Brother  Kills  a 
Brother.. —  The  Whig  and  Tory  Logans. —  William  Logan  Noticed. — 
Preparing  to  Retire — Burning  Captured  Wagons — Horse-Litters 
for  the  Wounded. — Gray's  Kindness  to  a  Wounded  Tory. — A 
Termagajit  Prisoner  Released. — Messengers  Sent  to  the  Foot-Meft. — 
Arms  Captured — Tories  made  to  Carry  Them. —  Trophies  of  Vic- 
tory.— A  Whig  Woman  Refusing  to  Share  in  the  Plunder. — Ru?nor 
of  Tarleton's  Approach. — Burial  of  the  Whig  and  Tory  Dead. — 
Treatmeyit  of  Ferguson  Considered. — Re-Interment  of  Remains. — 
March  of  the  Army. — Death  of  Colonel  Willams. —  Camp  at  Broad 
River. —  Willams'  Burial — Discovery  of  his  Long- Forgotten  Grave. 
— Six  Tory  Brothers  Escape. — Notice  of  Colonel  Walker. — Bran- 
don's Barbarity. —  Campbell  Protecting  the  Prisoners. —  Gray' s  Retort 
to  a  Tory  Vixen. — Gray's  Services. — Sufferitig  for  Food. — Feedijtg 
Prisoners  on  Corn  and  Pumpkins. — Billeting  the  Wounded. — March 
to  Bickerstaff's  Old  Fields. 

In  a  contest  like  that  on  King's  Mountain,  lasting  over 
an  hour,  with  eighteen  hundred  men  engaged  in  mortal 
combat,  and  with  repeated  charges  and  repulses,  many  a 
battle-incident  occurred  of  an  interesting  or  exciting'  char- 
acter.  A  number  of  them  have  already  been  related  while 
detailing  the  services  of  the  several  corps  engaged  in  the 
action  ;  but  others,  of  a  more  general  nature,  or  where  Loy- 
alists were  referred  to,  may  very  appropriately  be  grouped 
in  this  connection. 

Samuel  Abnej- — better  known  as  Long  Sam  Abney,  to 
distinguish  him  from  others  of  the  name — -a  resident  of 
Edgefield    County,  South  Carolina,  was  a  Whig  both  in 


principle  and  practice.  Upon  the  fall  of  Charleston,  and 
the  occupation  of  Ninety-Six  and  Augusta  by  a  strong 
British  force,  the  great  body  of  the  people  were  forced  to 
submit — to  take  protection,  which  they  understood  to  mean 
neutrality  ;  but  which  the  British  leaders  construed  very 
differently.  Thej^  were  treated  as  conquered  Rebels,  and, 
in  many  -instances,  were  compelled  to  take  up  arms  in 
defence  of  a  Government  which  they  loathed,  and  to  fight 
against  their  country's  freedom  to  which  their  hearts  were 
devoted.  Such  was  Abney's  situation.  He  was  forced 
into  Ferguson's  Loyalist  corps,  and  was  marched  to  King's 

At  the  commencement  of  the  battle,  he  stationed  him- 
self behind  a  rock,  where  he  would  be  secure  from  the  balls 
of  either  side,  determined  not  to  fight  against  his  countrj-- 
men.  He  could  not,  and  would  not,  take  part  in  shooting 
his  own  friends,  was  his  secret  thought  and  resolution.  But 
amid  the  shower  of  bullets  fljdng  in  every  direction,  he  was 
not  so  safe  as  he  had  flattered  himself;  for  while  leaning  on 
his  rifle,  and  probably  indulging  in  the  curiosity  of  taking  a 
view  of  the  combatants,  he  unintentionally  exposed  his 
person  more  than  he  had  designed,  when  a  ball  penetrated 
the  fleshy  part  of  his  arm.  This  made  him  "  a  little  mad," 
as  he  expressed  it;  still  he  had,  as  yet,  no  thought  of  taking 
part  in  the  contest.  •  Presentl}-,  however,  he  was  struck 
with  another  ball;  which  made  him  "mighty  mad,"  and 
he  then  turned  in  and  fought  with  the  bravest  and  boldest 
of  Ferguson's  troops.  Before  the  action  was  over,  he  was 
riddled  with  bullets,  as  he  related  the  story  of  the  fight — 
seven  balls  taking  effect  on  his  person.  He  was  left  in  a 
helpless,  unconscious  condition,  among  the  slain  and 
wounded  on  the  batde-field  ;  but  fortunately  the  frost  of  the 
ensuing  night  revived  him.  -He  crawled  to  a  neighboring 
branch,  and  slacked  his  burning  thirst.  He  was  sub- 
sequently found  by  one  of  the  people  of  that  region,  who 
compassionately  conveyed  him  to  his  home,  and  bound  up 


his  wounds ;  and,  after  many  days,  he  i-ecovered,  and 
returned  to  his  friends.  He  lived  to  a  good  old  age,  and 
used  merrily  to  relate  how  he  was  shot,  and  how  he  was 
provoked  to  shoot  back  again,  at  King's  Mountain.  * 

In  the  neighborhood  of  King's  Mountain,  on  King's 
creek,  resided  old  Arthur  Patterson,  an  Irishman,  who 
was  devoted  to  the  Whig  cause,  as  well  as  his  several  sons 
who  were  settled  around  him.  On  the  morning  preceding 
the  battle,  a  party  of  Ferguson's  foragers  ranging  along 
that  stream,  came  across  three  of  the  young  Pattersons, 
Arthur,  Jr.,  Thomas  and  William,  together  with  James 
Lindsay  ;  arrested  and  marched  them  to  camp,  where  they 
were  placed  under  guard,  awaiting  trial.  The  same  day, 
learning  of  the  apprehension  of  his  sons,  the  aged  father 
of  the  Pattersons  started  for  the  camp,  to  see  if  he  could  do 
anything  towards  effecting  their  release.  Meanwhile  the 
Whigs  suddenly  made  their  appearance,  encircled  the 
mountain,  and  commenced  their  attack.  During  the  prog- 
ress of  the  action,  while  the  Americans  were  pressing  the 
enemy,  the  guards  were  ordered  to  take  their  places  in 
the  line  of  defence,  and  aid,  if  possible,  in  checking  the 
advance  of  the  mountaineers.  Left  to  themselves,  amid  the 
confusion  of  the  battle,  the  prisoners  resolved  to  make  a 
push  for  freedom.  Lindsay,  together  with  William  and 
Arthur  Patterson,  Jr.,  ran  through  an  opening  in  the  British 
lines,  and  escaped  unharmed — Arthur  with  a  portion  of  the 
rope,  with  which  he  had  been  fastened,  still  dangling  from 
his  neck.  Thomas  Patterson,  possessing  perhaps  more  of  a 
belligerent  nature,  watched  his  opportunity,  between  fires, 
and  made  a  bold  dash  for  the  Whig  lines,  reaching  Shelby's 
corps,  where  he  picked  up  the  rifle  of  a  wounded  soldier, 
and  fought  bravely  until  victory  was  proclaimed.  His  aged 
father  was  less  fortunate.  His  old  Irish  blood,  as  he  came 
in  view  of  the  noble  army  of  patriots,  was  stirred  within 

*  Random  Recollections  of  the  Revoltitton.    by   Hon.    J.  B.    O'Neall,    in   the   Southern 
Literary  Journal,  August,   1838,  pp.  106-7. 


him  ;  and  hoping  that  he  might  aid  in  liberating  both  his 
sons  and  his  country,  he  warmlj'  joined  in  the  fray,  and 
was  killed.  * 

Drury  Mathis,  who  resided  at  Saluda  Old  town,  on  the 
Saluda,  in  South  Carolina,  some  two  and  a  half  miles  above 
the  mouth  of  Little  river,  had  united  his  fortunes  with  Fer- 
guson. In  the  third  charge  which  was  made  against  Camp- 
bell's men,  Mathis  was  badly  wounded,  and  fell  to  the 
ground.  The  spot  where  he  had  fallen  was  halfway  down 
the  mountain,  where  the  balls  from  the  Virginians  fell 
around  him  almost  as  thick  as  hail.  Fie  used  to  relate,  that 
as  the  mountaineers  passed  over  him,  he  would  play 
possum  ;  but  he  could  plainly  observe  their  faces  and  eyes  ; 
and  to  him  those  bold,  brave  riflemen  appeared  like  so 
many  devils  from  the  infernal  regions,  so  full  of  excitement 
were  they  as  they  darted  like  enraged  lions  up  the  mount- 
ain. He  said  they  were  the  most  powerful  looking  men  he 
ever  beheld  ;  not  over-burdened  with  fat,  but  tall,  raw-boned, 
and  sinewy,  with  long  matted  hair — such  men,  as  a  body, 
as  were  never  before  seen  in  the  Carolinas.  With  his  feet 
down  the  declivity,  he  said  he  could  not  but  observe  that 
his  Loyalist  friends  were  very  generally  over-shooting  the 
Americans  ;  and  that  if  ever  a  poor  fellow  hugged  mother 
earth  closely,  he  did  on  that  trying  occasion.  After  the  battle 
— the  next  day,  probably — he  was  kindly  taken  to  a  house  in 
that  region,  and  nursed  till  his  wound  had  healed,  when  he 
returned  to  Ninety-Six,  an  humbled,  if  not  a  wiser  man. 
He  lived  to  enjoy  a  green  old  age  ;  but  used  stoutly  to  swear 
that  he  never  desired  to  see  King's  Mountain  again,  f 

Thomas  Mullineaux,  a  youth,  lived  with  his  mother, 
some  two  miles  from  the  mountain.  He  used  to  relate,  in 
his  old  age,  that  when  the  firing  began,  his  mother  and  the 
family  were  sitting  down  to  a  late  dinner.  Presently  a 
neighboring  woman  came  running  in,  wringing  her  hands, 

*MS.  letters  of  Colonel  J.  R.  Logan,  Dr.  W.  J.  T.  Miller,  Abraham  Hardin;  Hunter's 
Sketches,  311 ;  Moore's  Lacey,  18;    The  Carolinian,  Hiclcory,  North  Carolina,  Oct.  1st,  1880. 
f  MS.  papers  of  Dr.  John  H.  Logan. 

314  KING  'S  MO  UNTAIN 

and  uttering  her  deep  lamentations  over  the  dangers  sur- 
rounding her  son,  who  had  enlisted  under  the  banners  of 
Ferguson.  After  the  firing  had,  at  length,  ceased,  and 
all  was  still  again,  as  if  nothing  had  occurred  to  disturb  the 
peace  that  had  brooded  over  the  mountain  from  time 
immemorial,  the  poor  woman  hastened,  with  a  heavy  heart, 
accompanied  b}'  j'oung  Mullineaux,  to  the  scene  of  action. 
Turning  up  the  faces  of  the  dead  and  wounded  Tories, 
scattered  along  the  sides,  and  upon  the  crest  of  the  moun- 
tain, she  at  length  discovered  the  gorj^  bod}'  of  her  son 
pierced  by  a  rifle  ball.     It  was  a  heart-rending  scene.* 

The  fatality  of  the  sharp-shooters  at  King's  Mountain 
almost  surpasses  belief.  Riflemen  took  off  riflemen  with 
such  exactness,  that  they  killed  each  other  when  taking 
sight,  so  instantaneously  that  their  eyes  remained,  after 
they  were  dead,  one  shut  and  the  other  o-pen — in  the  usual 
manner  of  marksmen  when  leveling  at  their  object. f  Wil- 
kinson, in  his  Memoirs,  refers  to  "  the  Southern  States,  rent 
by  civil  feuds,  bleeding  by  the  hands  of  brothers  ;  "  and  cites 
an  incident  in  point  at  King's  Mountain,  related  to  him  by 
Colonel  Shelby,  ^^  that  tzuo  brothers,  expert  riflemen,  zuere 
seen  to  present  at  each  other ,  to  fire  and  fall  at  the  same 
instant — their  names  were  given  to  me,  but  they  have 
escaped  my  memory."  \ 

It  is  not  improbable  that  these  two  brothers  who  con- 
fronted and  killed  each  other,  as  related  by  Colonel  Shelby, 
were  of  the  Goforth  family,  of  Rutherford  County,  North 
Carolina.  At  least,  four  brothers — Preston  Goforth  on  the 
Whig  side,  and  John  Goforth  and  two  others  in  the  Tory 
ranks — all  participated  in  the  battle,  and  all  were  killed. 
It  was  a  remarkable  fatality.  § 

Another  instance  of  brother  killing  a  brother,  during  the 
engagement,  is  thus  related :     A  Whig  soldier  noticed   a 

'•'Dr.  J.  H.  Logan's  manuscripts. 

■f  Lamb's  y<?Mr«(i^.  308. 

J  Wilkinson's  Memoirs,  i,  115. 

g  MS.  Correspondence  of  W,  L.  T-wItty. 


good  deal  of  execution  in  a  particular  part  of  his  line  from  a 
certain  direction  on  the  other  side.  ■  On  close  observation, 
he  discovered  that  the  fatal  firing  on  tlae  part  of  Ferguson's 
men,  proceeded  from  behind  a  hollow  chestnut  tree,  and 
through  a  hole  in  it.  He  concluded  to  make  an  effort  to 
silence  that  battery,  and  aimed  his  rifle  shots  repeatedly  at 
the  aperture.  At  length  the  firing  from  that  quarter  ceased. 
After  the  battle,  his  curiosity  prompted  him  to  examine  the 
place,  and  discovered  that  he  had  killed  one  of  his  own 
brothers,  and  wounded  another,  who  had  joined  the  Loyalist 
forces,  and  concealed  themselves  in  the  rear  of  this  tree. 
So  much  did  the  patriot  brother  take  the  circumstance  to 
heart,  that  he  became  almost  deranged  in  consequence.* 

There  were  four  brothers,  all  of  Lincoln  County,  North 
Carolina,  who  shared  in  the  battle — William  and  Joseph 
Logan,  on  the  Whig  side,  and  John  and  Thomas  Logan 
among  Ferguson's  forces.  William  Logan  belonged  to 
Mattock's  company,  and  was  close  by  his  Captain  when  he 
fell — the  fatal  ball  having  passed  a  hollow  dead  chestnut 
tree.  Joseph  Logan,  the  other  Whig  brother,  was  a  Baptist 
preacher ;  and,  during  the  engagement,  he,  with  a  Presbj'- 
terian  minister,  wrestled  with  the  Lord  in  prayer,  as  in 
olden  times,  to  stay  up  the  hands  of  their  friends.  Thomas 
Logan,  one  of  the  Tory  brothers,  had  his  thigh  badly 
broken,  and  was  left  on  the  field  of  battle ;  while  his 
brother,  John  Logan,  was  taken  among  the  prisoners,  and 
afterwards  died  a  pauper. t  These  political  divisions  in 
families,  which  were  not  unfrequent,  were  exceedingly 
unpleasant,  engendering  much  bitterness  and  animosity. 

*  Rev.  E.  R.  Rockwell,  of  Cool  Spring,  North  Carolina,  in  Historical  Magazine, 
September,  1867,  p.  i8t. 

T  MS.  Correspondence  of  Colonel  J.  R  Logan.  His  grandfather,  William  Logan,  who 
shared  in  the  glories  of  King's  Mountain,  was  a  native  of  Virginia,  born  in  1749.  descend- 
ing from  Scotch-Irish  ancestry.  Before  the  war,  he  married  Jane  Black,  and  settled  in 
Lincoln  County.  North  Carolina.  He  did  good  service  at  King's  Mountain,  and  rendered 
himself  useful  during  the  continuance  of  the  contest,  for  which  in  his  advanced  years  he 
drew  a  pension.  After  the  war  he  settled  on  main  Buffalo  creek,  on  the  border  of  York 
County,  South  Carolina,  where  he  died  in  r832,  at  the  age  of  eighty-three  years,  having 
dropped  dead  in  the  field  while  feeding  his  cattle.  He  left  five  sons  and  two  daughters,  and 
was  long  a  worthy  member  of  the  Baptist  church. 


In  the  morning,  after  the  battle,  a  man  was  discovered 
on  the  top  of  the  mountain — one  of  the  Tories,  it  is  believed 
— with  a  bullet  hole  through  his  head,  a  rifle  ball  having 
entered  his  forehead,  and  passed  out  at  the  back  part  of  his 
cranium  ;  and  strange  to  say,  he  was  still  alive,  and  sitting 
in  an  upright  posture  on  the  ground.  Some  of  his  brains 
had  oozed  out  on  either  side  of  his  head ;  and  though 
unconscious,  he  was  yet  breathing.  It  was  proposed  by 
those  who  saw  him,  that  they  would  gently  lay  him  down ; 
and,  on  doing  so,  he  instantly  expired.* 

On  Sabbath  morning,  October  the  eighth,  the  sun  shone 
brightly,  the  first  time  in  several  days,  and  the  patriots 
were  early  astir — prompted  thereto  by  two  verj'  pressing 
motives.  One  was,  that  they  might  get  on  their  return 
route  as  quickly  as  possible,  to  secure  a  much  needed  sup- 
ply of  provisions  ;  the  other  to  hasten  beyond  the  reach  of 
the  dreaded  Colonel  Tarleton,  an  encounter  with  whom 
was  very  undesirable,  encumbered  as  they  were  with  so 
many  prisoners,  and  the  necessary  care  and  conveyance  of 
their  own  wounded.  Seventeen  baggage  wagons  were, 
according  to  Colonel  Shelby's  letter  to  his  father,  among 
the  trophies  of  victory  ;  and  these,  says  Ramsey's  Tetines- 
see,  were  drawn  by  the  men  across  their  camp-fires  and 
consumed.  To  have  attempted  to  carry  them  along,  would 
have  retarded  their  march  over  a  rough  country  ;  and  the 
wounded  could  be  best  borne  on  the  journey  on  horse-litters, 
by  fastening  two  long  poles  on  either  side  of  two  horses  at 
tandem,  leaving  a  space  of  six  or  eight  feet  between  them, 
stretching  tent-cloth  or  blankets  between  the  poles,  on  which 
to  place  a  disabled  officer  or  soldier. 

In  rambling  that  morning  among  the  Tory  wounded, 
who  lay  scattered  about — all  who  could  had  crept  to  the 
branch  to  quench  their  raging  thirst — James  Gray,  of  the 
Rutherford  troops,  discovered  an  old  acquaintance  wounded 

'■'J.  L.  Gray's  MS.  narrativCj  derived  from  James  Gray,  one  of  the  King's  Mountain 


in  the  ankle,  and  unable  to  walk.  Gray  was  fully  aware, 
that  the  unfortunate  man  was  not  one  of  those  disrepu- 
table Tories  who  had  joined  the  King's  standard,  like 
Plundering  Sam  Brown,  simply  for  the  sake  of  being 
protected  in  rapine  and  plunder.  He  had  joined  Fergu- 
son from  conscientious  motives,  believing  it  his  duty 
to  fight  for  the  Royal  Government.  Gray  feeling  kindly 
towards  his  old  friend,  took  out  his  pocket-handkerchief, 
bound  up  his  broken  limb,  and  did  whatever  else  he  could 
to  ameliorate  his  unhappy  condition.  Nor  was  this  kind- 
ness thrown  away.  Recovering  from  his  wound,  the 
Loyalist  became  a  useful  citizen  to  his  country ;  and,  as 
long  as  he  lived,  he  manifested  the  strongest  friendship  for 
Gray,  who  had  shown  him  compassion  in  the  day  of  his 
distress.  * 

Among  the  prisoners,  Colonel  Shelby  discovered  some 
officers  who  had  fought  under  his  banner,  a  few  weeks  pre- 
viously, at  Musgrove's  Mill.  They  declared  that  they  had 
been  forced  to  join  Ferguson,  or  fare  worse ;  and  when 
their  cases  had  been  inquired  into,  and  their  representations 
found  to  be  correct,  their  misfortunes  were  conimisserated, 
and  they  were  henceforth  regarded  as  friends,  f  Here  a 
woman  was  liberated  from  captivity,  who  had  been  taken  pris- 
oner in  Burke  County  during  Colonel  Ferguson's  inva- 
sion of  that  region  in  the  month  preceding.  She  was  a  regu- 
lar termagant — especially  excited  by  the  presence  of  Tories, 
and  in  this  instance,  her  ire  had  probably  been  provoked 
by  the  reckless  plunder  of  her  property,  and  she  had  appar- 
ently been  apprehended  because  she  gave  them  a  piece  of 
her  tongue,  in  a  manner  quite  too  loose  and  reckless  to  suit 
the  fastidious  notions  of  his  Majesty's  representatives  in  the 
backwoods  of  America.  +  Once  again  free  in  body,  as  her 
unruly  member  always  had  been,  she  renewedly  indulged 
her  propensity,  we  may  well  judge,  of  saying  ugly  things 
of  Fersfuson  and  his  men  to  her  heart's  content. 

*J.  L.  Gray's  MS.  statement,  and  Rutherford  Enquirer,  May  24,  1859. 

•J- Shelby,  in  j47«^r7Va«  Review,  December,   1848, 

X  MS.  statement  of   W.  L.  Twitty,  derived  from  Colonel  W.  H.  Miller. 


Earl}'  that  morning,  Colonel  Campbell  ordered  two  of 
his  men,  William  Snodgrass  and  Edward  Smith,  to  return 
on  the  route  on  which  the  armj^  had  advanced,  so  as  to 
meet  the  part)'  of  footmen,  and  prevent  their  further 
approach  in  the  direction  of  King's  Mountain.  Declining 
a  guard,  because,  as  the  messengers  said,  the  patriots  already 
had  the  whole  population  of  that  region,  either  as  soldiers 
or  prisoners,  they  went  on,  without  any  mishap  or  adventure, 
to  Broad  river — apparently  at  the  Cherokee  Ford — where 
they  met  their  countrymen.  They  imparted  to  them  the 
joyful  tidings  of  victory,  and  turned  their  course,  in 
obedience  to  orders,  up  the  stream.  * 

According  to  the  official  report  of  Colonel  Campbell 
and  associates,  fifteen  hundred  stand  of  arms  were  cap- 
tured ;  but  in  Colonel  Shelby's  letter  to  his  father,  written 
five  davs  after  the  battle,  twelve  hundred  is  the  number 
stated — andaportion  of  these  were  supernumerary,  designed 
for  new  recruits.  "  The  prisoners,"  says  Shelby,  "  were 
made  to  carry  their  own  arms,  as  they  could  not  have  been 
carried  in  an}^  other  way."  The  flints  were  taken  from  the 
locks  ;  and,  to  the  more  strong  and  healthy  Tories,  two  guns 
each  were  assigned  for  convej-ance.  When  ready  to  start 
on  the  day's  journey,  the  prisoners  were  marched,  in  single 
file,  by  the  spot  where  the  rifles  and  muskets  were  stacked, 
and  each  was  directed  to  shoulder  and  carry  the  arms 
allotted  to  him.  Colonel  Shelby,  with  his  sword  drawn, 
stood  by,  among  others,  to  see  that  the  order  was  strictly 
obeyed.  One  old  fellow  came  toddling  by,  and  evinced  a 
determination  not  to  encumber  himself  with  a  gun.  Shelby 
sternly  ordered  him  to  shoulder  one  without  delay.  The 
old  man  demurred,  declaring  he  was  not  able  to  carry  it. 
Shelby  told  him,  with  a  curse,  that  he  was  able  to  bring 
one  there,  and  he  should  carry  one  away  ;  and,  at  the  same 
time  gave  him  a  smart  slap  across  his  shoulders  with  the 
flat  side  of  his  sword-blade.     The  old  fellow,  discovering 

"!'  MS.  letter  of  Wm.  Snodgrass  to  Ex-Governor  David  Campbell,  August  15th,  1842. 


that  he  could  not  trifle  with  such  a  man  as  Shelby,  jumped 
at  the  gun-pile,  shouldered  one,  and  marched  away  in 
double-quick  time.  * 

There  were  not  a  few  other  articles,  military  and  per- 
sonal, that  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  victors.  These  seem 
to  have  been  retained  by  those  who  possessed  themselves  of 
them — as  the  troops,  be  it  remembered,  had  not  engaged  in 
the  service  by  any  order  of  Congress,  or  of  their  respective 
States.  It  was  entirely  a  volunteer  movement — no  baggage- 
wagons,  no  commissaries,  no  pay,  and  no  supplies.  General 
Lenoir  adds,  th!at  by  the  victory  of  King's  Mountain,  "  many 
militia  officers  procured  swords  who  could  not  possibly  get 
any  before  ;  neither  was  it  possible  to  procure  a  good  sup- 
ply of  ammunition." 

If  the  soldiers,  who  had  marched  so  far  and  suffered  so 
much,  in  order  to  meet  and  conquer  Ferguson  and  his  army, 
were  not  unwilling  to  appropriate  to  their  own  use  the 
trophies  of  victory,  there  is  at  least  one  recorded  instance 
in  which  a  sturd}^  Whig  woman  of  the  country  refused 
to  profit  by  the  spoils  of  war.  Two  brothers,  Moses  and 
James  Henry,  of  the  Lincoln  troops,  residing  in  what  is 
now  Gaston  County,  fought  bravely  in  the  battle  ;  Moses 
Henry  sealing  his  devotion  to  his  country  with  his  life's 
blood — dying,  not  long  thereafter,  in  the  hospital  at  Char- 
lotte, of  the  wound  he  received  in  the  action.  His  brother, 
James  Henry,  while  passing  through  the  woods  near  the 
scene  of  the  conflict,  a  few  days  after  the  engagement, 
found  a  very  fine  horse,  handsomely  equipped  with  an 
elegant  saddle,  the  reins  of  the  bridle  being  broken.  The 
horse  and  equipments  had  belonged,  as  he  supposed,  to 
some  officer  of  the  enemy.  He  took  the  animal  home  with 
him,  greatly  elated  with  his  good  luck;  but  his  patriotic 
mother  meeting  him  at  the  gate,  immediately  inquired  whose 
horse  it  was?     He  rephed,  that  he   judged  that  it  had  be- 

""■  Shelby's  narrative  in  the  American  Review,  Ramsey's  Tennessee,  242;  General 
Lenoir's  statement;  T.  L.  Gray's  MSS. ;  Rutker/ord  Enquirer,  May  24th,  1859. 

320  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

longed  to  some  British  officer.  "James,"  said  the  mother, 
sternly,  "  turn  it  loose,  and  drive  it  off  the  place,  for  I  will 
not  have  the  hands  of  my  household  soiled  with  British 
plunder."  Colonel  Moses  Henry  Hand,  a  worthy  citizen 
of  Gaston  Count}^,  is  a  grandson  of  Moses  Henry  who  was 
mortally  woiinded  at  King's  Mountain.  * 

At  length  the  patriot  army  was  ready  to  commence  its 
long  and  tedious  return  march,  encumbered  with  their 
wounded,  and  over  six  hundred  prisoners.  A  report  was 
prevalent  that  morning,  that  Tarleton's  cavalry  was  press- 
ing on,  and  would  attempt  to  rescue  the  prisoners,  f  and 
inflict  punishment  upon  the  audacious  mountaineers ;  but 
while  it  was  only  camp  rumor,  brought  in  by  people  from 
the  surrounding  countrjr,  whose  curiosity  had  prompted 
them  to  visit  the  battle-field,  yet  the  Whig  leaders  deemed 
it  wise  to  waste  no  time  unnecessarily.  Much  of  the  morn- 
ing had  been  consumed  in  preparing  litters  for  the  wounded. 

When  the  army  marched,  some  ten  o'clock  in  the  fore- 
noon. Colonel  Campbell  remained  behind  with  a  party  of 
men  to  bury  their  unfortunate  countrymen.  J  The  British 
Lieutenant  Allaire  states,  that  before  the  troops  moved, 
orders  were  given  to  his  men  b}^  Colonel  Campbell,  that 
should  they  be  attacked  on  the  march,  to  fire  on  and  destroy 
the  prisoners.  We  have  no  means  of  determining  whether 
such  orders  were  given  on  the  supposition  of  Tarleton's  pos- 
sible pursuit,  and  attempt  to  rescue  the  captives  ;  or  it  may 
be,  if  there  was  any  foundation  for  the  statement,  it  was 
made  in  a  modified  form. 

A  place  of  sepulture  was  selected,  upon  a  small  eleva- 
tion, some  eighty  or  a  hundred  yards  south-east  of  Fergu- 
son's head-quarters  ;  large  pits  were  dug,  and  a  number  of 
the  slain  placed  together,  with  blankets  thrown  over  them, 
and   thus   hurriedly   buried. §     Tarleton  asserts,    on  some 

'■'  Hunter's  Sketches,  pp.  296-97. 

■h  MS.  letter  of  Wm.   Snodgrass  to  Governor  Campbell;  Mills'  Statistics  ^•J'Ji^'f  conver- 
sations with  Silas  McBee  and  Jolin  Spelts,  survivors  of  the  battle. 
t  Statement  of  Joseph  Phillips,  one  of  Cleveland's  men. 
§  MS.  letters  of  Wm,  Snodgrass  and  John  Craig,  of  CamcbelTs  regiment. 


reports  he  had  heard,  that  the  mountaineers  used  every 
insult  and  indignity  towards  the  dead  body  of  Ferguson  ;  * 
and  Hanger,  an  officer  at  that  time  in  Tarleton's  corps, 
declares  that  such  was  the  inveteracy  of  the  Americans 
against  the  British  leader,  that  while  they  buried  all  the 
other  bodies,  they  stripped  Ferguson's  of  its  clothes,  and 
left  it  naked  on  the  field  of  battle,  to  be  devoured  by  the 
turkey-buzzards  of  the  country,  f 

Colonel  Ferguson's  biographer  repeats  the  statement 
that  his  body  was  stripped,  and  his  surviving  comrades 
were  denied  the  privilege  of  bestowing  upon  his  remains 
the  honors  of  a  soldier's  burial ;  but  that  the  neighboring 
people  subsequently  accorded  to  him  a  decent  interment.  X 
Mills,  in  his  Statistics  of  South  Carolina.,  remarks,  that 
the  victors,  dreading  the  arrival  of  Tarleton,  "  hastened  from 
the  scene  of  action  ;  nor  durst  they  attend  to  the  burial  of 
the  dead,  or  to  take  care  of  the  wounded,  many  of  whom 
were  seen  upon  the  ground,  two  days  after  the  battle, 
imploring  a  little  water  to  cool  their  burning  tongues ;  but 
the}^  were  left  to  perish  there,  and  this  long  hill  was 
whitened  with  their  bones." 

That  Ferguson's  elegant  clothing,  under  his  duster  or 
hunting-shirt,  may  have  been  taken,  and  that  even  some 
indignities  may  have  been  shown  by  an  excited  soldiery, 
towards  the  British  leader's  lifeless  bod}',  is  quite  possible  ; 
if  so,  it  is  strange  that  two  officers  of  his  corps,  much 
devoted  to  him.  Lieutenant  Allaire  and  Captain  Ryerson, 
should  make  no  mention  of  any  such  circumstance  in 
their  narratives  of  King's  Mountain  battle.  At  all  events, 
when  Colonel  Campbell  detailed  a  party  of  his  troops 
to  remain  behind  to  bury  the  American  dead,  he  directed 
a  number  of  the  British  prisoners  to  dig  pits  for  the 
interment  of  their   fallen   companions,    and   at   the   same 

'."'Tarlet'on's  Campaigns,  quarto  edition,  165. 
■r  Hanger's  Life  and  Opinions,  ii,  406. 
X  Dr.  Ferguson's  Memoir^  35. 


time,  detained  Doctor  Johnson  to  attend  to  the  wounded  of 
the  enemj'  before  his  final  departure.*  That  the  grave-pits 
were  shallow,  and  the  work  of  sepulture  hastily  performed, 
is  very  likely,  for  the  reception  of  both  the  American  and 
British  remains  ;  but  all  was  undoubtedly  done  that  well 
could  be,  undet  the  circumstances,  with  such  limited  facil- 
ties  as  they  possessed,  and  in  their  half-starved  condition, 
and,  withal,  threatened,  as  they  supposed,  with  a  visit  from 
Tarleton's  Legion.  The  British  dead  were  interred  in  two 
pits — one  a  very  large  one,  probably  where  the  Tories  were 
laid,  side  by  side  ;  the  other,  a  smaller  one,  where  doubt- 
less the  men  of  Ferguson's  corps  were  buried. f 

The  wolves  of  the  surrounding  country  were  soon 
attracted  to  the  spot  by  the  smell  of  flesh  and  blood  ;  and 
for  several  weeks  they  revelled  upon  the  carcasses  of  the 
slain — some  of  which  had  been  overlooked  and  left  un- 
buried,  while  others  were  scratched  out  of  their  shallow 
graves  by  these  prowlers  of  the  wilderness.  Vultures  and 
wolves  divided  the  human  plunder ;  and  so  bold  and 
audacious  did  the  latter  grow,  gorging  on  flesh,  that  they, 
in  some  instances,  showed  a  disposition  to  attack  the  living, 
when  visiting  the  scene  of  the  battle.  And  long  after  the 
war,  it  is  said,  that  King's  Mountain  was  the  favorite  resort 
of  the  wolf-hunter.]: 

'■'MS.  letter  of  Wm.  Snodgrass  to  Governor  Campbell,  August  15th.  1842;  Benjamin 
Sharp's  statement  in  the  American  Pioneer.  These  acts  of  kindness  on  the  part  of  Colonel 
Campbell,  effectually  disprove  the  supposition  of  Carrington,  in  his  Battles  0/  the  Revo- 
lution, that  the  Tory  wounded  were  deliberately  slaughtered  by  the  victorious  patriots. 

f  MS.  correspondence  of  Abraham  Hardin. 

I  Doctor  Logan's  MSS..  and  his  I-listory  0/  Ufipcr  South  Carolina,  68;  MS.  corres- 
pondence of  Colonel  J,  R.  Logan  ;  Mills'  Statistics,  779. 

i  t  may  be  added,  in  this  connection,  that  in  1S15,  through  the  instrumentality  of  Doctor 
William  McLean,  of  Lincoln  County,  North  Carolina,  a  day  was  set  apart,  and  the 
scattered  human  bones  on  the  mountain,  dragged  away  from  their  former  resting  places  by 
the  voracious  wolves,  were  collected  together,  and  re-interred;  and  the  old  monument  or 
head-stone  of  dark  slate  rock  erected  at  the  expense  of  Doctor  McLean,  who  delivered 
a  suitable  address  on  the  occasion.  The  monr.ment  bears  this  inscription:  On  the  east 
side — "  S.tcred  to  the  memory  of  iM  li'ir  Wilhim  Chronicle,  Captain  John  Mattocks,  William 
Robb.  and  John  Boyd,  who  were  killed  at  this  place  on  the  7th  of  October,  1780,  fighting 
in  defence  of  America.''  On  the  west  side:  "Colonel  Ferguson,  an  ofhcer  of  his 
Britannic  Majesty,  was  defeated  and  killed  at  this  place,  on  the  7th  of  October.  1780." — 
Mills'  Statistics,  779;  )i\' ^  S/ietclies,  pp.  2S9,  311 ;  MS.  correspondence  of  Abraham 


When  the  army  took  up  its  line  of  march,  strongly 
guarding  their  prisoners,  the  tenderest  possible  care  was 
bestowed  on  the  suffering  wounded,  conveyed  on  the  horse- 
litters — and  of  none  more  so  than  on  the  heroic  Colonel 
Williams.  In  the  early  part  of  the  afternoon,  when  about 
three  miles  south-west  of  the  battle  ground,  on  the  route 
towards  Deer's  Ferry  on  Broad  river,  the  little  guard  having 
him  in  charge,  discovering  that  life  was  fast  ebbing  away, 
stopped  by  the  road-side  at  Jacob  Randall's  place,  since  long 
the  homestead  of  Abraham  Hardin,  where  he  quietly 
breathed  his  last.  His  death  was  a  matter  of  sincere  grief  to 
the  whole  army.  His  friends  resolved,  at  first,  to  carrj^  his 
remains  to  his  old  home,  near  Little  river,  in  Laurens 
County  ;  but  soon  after  changed  this  determination.  March- 
ing some  twelve  miles  from  the  battle  ground,  they  en- 
camped that  night  near  the  eastern  bank  of  Broad  river, 
and  a  little  north  of  Buff"alo  creek,  on  the  road  leading  to 
North  Carolina,  and  within  two  or  three  miles  of  Boren's  or 
Bowen's  river  and  known  also  as  Camp's  creek.  Here 
at  the  deserted  plantation  of  a  Tory  named  Waldron  as 
Allaire  has  it — or  Fondren,  as  Silas  McBee  remembered 
the  name* — they  found  good  camping  ground,  with  plenty 
of  dry  rails  and  poles  for  their  evening  fires,  and  happily 
a  sweet  potato  patch  sufficiently  large  to  supph'  the  whole 

"This,"  says  Benjamin  Sharp,  "was  most  fortunate, 
for  not  one  in  fifty  of  us  had  tasted  food  for  the  last  two 
days  and  nights — since  we  left  the  Cowpens."  During  the 
evening  Colonel  Campbell  and  party  rejoined  the  patriots  ; 
and  the  footmen  aiTived  whom  they  had  left  at  the  ford  of 
Green  river,  and  who  had  made  commendable  progress  in 
following  so  closely  upon  the  mounted  advance  ;  and  who 

*CoI.  J.  'R.  Logan  fully  corroborates  McBae's  statement — that  instead  of  Waldron,  as 
Allaire  has  it,  the  name  of  the  owner  of  the  plantation  where  Williams  was  buried,  was 
Matthew  Fondren,  connected  with  the  Quinns  of  that  region — so  states  Mrs.  Margaret 
Roberts,  nee  Quinn,  now  nearly  ninety  years  of  age,  and  reared  in  that  locality.  Fondren 
was  subsequently  thrown  from  a  chair  or  gig,  and  killed. 


had,  moreover,  the  good  fortune  to  secure  a  temporary- 
supply  of  food — live  beef  cattle,  probably;  so  that  the 
hungry  mountaineers,  almost  famished,  now  enjoyed  a 
happy  repast.* 

The  next  morning,  for  want  of  suitable  conveyance,  the 
friends  of  Colonel  Williams  concluded  to  bury  his  remains 
were  thej^  were.  They  were  accordingly  interred  with  the 
honors  of  war,  between  the  camp  of  the  patriots  and  the 
river,  a  little  above  the  mouth  of  Buffalo  creek — on  what 
was  long  known  as  the  Fondren,  then  the  old  Carruth 
place,  now  belonging  to  Captain  J.  B.  Mintz.f  Having 
performed  this  touching  service,  and  fired  a  parting  volley 
over  the  newly  made  grave  of  one  of  the  noted  heroes  of 
the  war  of  independence,  the  army,  late  in  the  day, 
renewed  its  line  of  march  apparently  up  Broad  river  ;  and 
after  passing  what  Allaire  calls  Bullock's  creek,  but  what 
is  evidently  Boren's  river  they  took  up  quarters  for  the 
night  on  its  northern  bank,  having  accomplished  only  two 
and  a  half  miles.  Beside  the  burial  of  Colonel  Williams, 
the  precarious  condition  of  the  wounded,  probably,  re- 
tarded the  progress  of  this  day's  march,  and  time  was 
needed  for  recuperation. 

Tuesday,  the  tenth,  was  a  busy  day.  The  course  pur- 
sued would  seem  to  have  been  still  up  main  Broad  river, 
crossing  First  Broad  and  Sandy  run,  in  a  north-westerly 
direction,  towards  Gilbert  Town,  and  camping  in  the  woods 
that  night,  probably  not  very  far  from  Second  Broad 
river,  after  having  accomplished  a  march  of  twenty- 
miles.     An   incident  occurred  on  this  part   of  the   route, 

-■■  Snodgrass  MS.  letter  to  Governor  Campbell;  Sharp's  narrative;  General  Lenoir's 
statement;  Allaire's  MS.  Z'/zir;';  and  conversations  with  Silas  McBee. 

T  MS.  correspondence  of  Colonel  J.  R.  Logan  and  Abraham  Hardin.  Colonel  Logan 
adds,  that  he  learned  from  Captain  Mintz  that  a  tradition  had  been  handed  down  that 
Colonel  Williams  was  buried  in  that  neighborhood,  and  no  little  pains  had  been  taken  to 
identify  the  grave  by  various  people,  and  even  by  some  of  Colonel  Williams'  descendants, 
but  without  success.  At  length  Captain  Mintz  employed  some  men  toshruboifa  field 
long  overgrown,  and  requested  them  to  watch  for  the  long-forgotten  grave  ;  and  sure  enough, 
they  found  a  grave  with  a  head  and  foot  stone  composed  of  a  different  kind  of  rock  from 
those  abounding  there,  and  well  overgrown  with  grape  vines.  Though  there  was  no  in- 
scription on  the  head-stone,  there  is  no  doubt  it  is  the  grave  of  •'  Old  King's  Mountain  Jim." 


worthy  of  notice.  Among  the  prisoners  were  six  brothers 
named  Gage,  who  had  joined  Ferguson  in  consequence  of 
the  Tory  influences  surrounding  them.  During  the  second 
dajr's  march,  one  of  the  Gages  was  taken  ill,  when  the 
officer  of  the  day,  who  probably  could  not  provide  any 
means  for  his  conveyance,  and  possibly  surmising  that  he 
was  feigning  sickness,  in  order  to  seek  an  opportunity  to 
escape,  or  delay  the  Whigs  so  thatTarleton  might  overtake 
them,  urged  the  sick  prisoner  to  keep  pace  with  the  others. 
His  brothers,  to  save  him  from  possible  calamity,  took  turns 
in  carrying  him  on  their  backs  ;  and  they  adopted  the  plan 
of  availing  themselves  of  their  peculiar  situation  to  lag  as 
much  behind  as  possible,  with  a  view  of  taking  advantage 
of  the  first  considerable  stream  they  should  have  occasion  to 
pass,  in  the  night,  to  fall  down  in  the  water,  and  suffer  the 
rear  guard  to  ride  over  them.  Their  scheme  succeeded, 
and  they  thus  escaped  in  the  darkness  unobserved.*  The 
Whigs  kept  up  their  march  of  evenings,  so  long  as  they 
thought  it  necessary  to  place  themselves  beyond  the  reach 
of  British  pursuit. 

During  Wednesday,  the  eleventh,  the  army  marched 
twelve  miles,  and  encamped  at  Colonel  John  Walker's, 
according  to  Allaire's  Diary.  Colonel  Walker,  one  of  the 
prominent  Whig  leaders  of  the  country,  resided  some  five 
miles  north-east  of  Gilbert  Town,  on  the  east  side  of  Cane 
creek,  half  a  mile  above  its  mouth,  and  a  mile  below  the 
present  Brittain   church. f      There    seems    to    have    been 

=■=  Conversations  with  Benjamin  Starritt,  in  1843. 

■f- Colonel  Walker  was  born  on  Bohemia  Creek,  New  Castle  County,  Delaware,  in  1728. 
When  grown,  he  settled  on  the  South  Branch  of  Potomac,  Hampshire  County.  Virginia, 
where  he  married  Elizabeth  Watson.  He  served  as  a  volunteer  under  Colonel  Washington, 
and  shared  in  Braddock's  disastrous  defeat  in  1755.  He  shortly  after  removed  to  North 
Carolina,  settling  first  on  Leeper's  Creek,  in  now  Lincoln  County,  and  served  on  Colonel 
Grant's  campaign  against  the  Cherokees  in  1761.  He  subsequently  located  on  Crowder's 
Creek  ;  and.  in  176S,  at  the  mouth  of  Cane  Creek,  where  he  purchased  a  fine  tract  of  four 
hundred  acres  for  a  doubloon.  He  was  a  man  of  marked  character  and  prominence,  hold- 
ing several  commissions  under  the  Colonial  Government — Colonel  Commandant  of  Tryon 
County,  and  Judge  of  the  Court  for  many  years.  On  the  breaking  out  of  the  Revolution, 
sharing  in  the  sympathies  of  the  people,  he  resigned  his  Loyal  offices,  and  was  among  the 
foremost  in  signing  the  Articles  of  Association,  pledging  resistance  to  British  encroachments. 

326  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

individual  cases  of  savage  severity,  even  to  murder,  exer- 
cised towards  the  prisoners.  Colonel  Brandon,  a  rough, 
impulsive  Irishman,  discovering  that  one  of  the  Tories,  who 
had  been  carrying  a  couple  of  the  captured  guns,  had 
dodged  into  a  hollow  sycamore  by  the  road-side,  dragged 
him  from  his  hiding  place,  and  completely  hacked  him  to 
pieces  with  his  sword.*  Hints  and  innuendoes  have  been 
occasionally  thrown  out  against  Colonel  Campbell  himself 
as  guilty  of  heartless  cruelty  to  the  Tory  prisoners  ;  f  but 
the  following  extract  from  his  General  Order,  at  the  camp 
below  Gilbert  Town,  October  eleventh,  1780,  probably  in 
the  early  part  of  the  day,  should  be  a  complete  vindication 
of  his  memory  and  good  name  from  such  a  charge:  "  I 
must,"  he  said,  "request  the  officers  of  all  ranks  in  the 
army  to  endeavor  to  restrain  the  disorderly  manner  of 
slaughtering  and  disturbing  the  prisoners.  If  it  cannot  be 
prevented  by  moderate  measures,  such  effectual  punishment 
shall  be  executed  upon  delinquents  as  will  put  a  stop  to  it."  X 
It  would  appear  that  the  avvay^  on  its  march  this  daj-, 
passed  through  Gilbert  Town ;  and  resting  there  awhile, 
the  prisoners  were  placed  in  a  pen,  in  which  Ferguson, 
when  stationed  there,  had  confined  captured  Whigs.  When 
the  British  held  full  sway  in  that  quarter,  a  Tory  woman 
there  was  asked  what  the  leaders  were  going  to  do  with 
their  Rebel  prisoners  in  the  bull-pen?  "We  are  going," 
she  tartly  replied,  "  to  hang  all  the  d — dold  Rebels,  and  take 
their  wives,  scrape  their  tongues,  and  let  them  go."     This 

in  August,  1775;  and.  the  same  month,  served  as  a  member  of  the  Convention  at  Hillsboro. 
His  sons  took  an  active  part  in  the  war,  one  of  whom,  Felix  Wallcer,  represented  Ruther- 
ford County  seven  years  in  the  House  of  Commons,  and  six  in  Congress.  Colonel  Walker, 
in  1787,  removed  to  the  mouth  of  Green  river,  in  Rutherford  County,  where  he  died 
January  25th,  1796,  in  his  sixty-eighth  year.  He  was  one  of  the  pioneer  fathers  of  Western 
Carolina.  For  most  of  the  facts  in  this  note,  we  acknowledge  our  indebtedness  to  the 
Memoirs  0/ Hon,  Felix  Walker,  edited  by  his  grandson,  Samuel  R    Walker. 

='■  Conversations  with  the  late  Dr.  A.  Q.  Bradley,  who  had  this  incident  from  one  of 
Brandon's  men. 

T  Statements  of  Henry  Blevins,  John  Lang  and  Jacob  Isely.  appended  to  Shelby's 
King's  Mountain  pamphlet,  1823;  and  W  A.  Henderson's  published  Lecture  on  Governor 
John  Sevier,  at  Knoxville,  Tennessee,  in  January,  1873. 

I  Copied  from  the  original,  furnished  by  General  John  S.  Preston;  Bancroft,   x,  340. 


same  Loyalist  lady,  now  when  the  changes  of  fortune  had  so 
suddenly  reversed  matters,  again  visited  the  prison-pen, 
where  her  husband,  who  had  joined  Ferguson's  forces,  was 
among  those  in  confinement ;  and,  with  eyes  filled  with 
tears,  touchingly  inquired  of  James  Gray,  one  of  the 
guard,  "What  are  you  Whigs  going  to  do  with  these 
poor  fellows?  "  Retorting  in  her  own  slang  language,  to 
annoy  and  humble  her,  he  replied  :  "  We  are  going  to  hang 
all  the  d — d  old  Tories,  and  take  their  wives,  scrape  their 
tongues,  and  let  them  go."  This  severe  response  com- 
pletely confounded  the  termagant,  against  whose  friends 
and  cause  the  battle  had  gone,  and  she  silently  retired.* 

Remaining  in  camp  at  Walker's  during  Thursday,  the 
twelfth,  the  baggage  of  the  Bridsh  leaders  was  divided 
among  the  Whig  officers,  save  a  small  •  portion  granted  to 
Captain  DePeyster  and  his  associates  for  a  change.  Colonel 
Shelby,  referring  to  the  tardy  movements  of  the  troops, 
observes  :  "  Owing  to  the  number  of  wounded,  and  the  des- 
titution of  the  army  of  all  conveyances,  they  traveled 
slowly,  and  in  one  week  had  only  marched  about  forty 
miles."  f  Another  trying  circumstance  was,  that  in  conse- 
quence of  the  contending  armies  having  either  occupied,  or 
repeatedly  traversed,  this  sparsely  settled  region,  during  the 
preceding  two  or  three  months,  the  people  were  completely 

*MS.  statement  of  J.  L.  Gray,  derived  from  his  grandfather,  James  Gray  ;  Rutherford 
Rnguirer,.  IMay  24th,  1859. 

James  Gray,  who  generously  bound  up.  with  his  handkerchief,  the  broken  ankle  of  a 
Tory  acquaintance  at  King's  Mountain,  and  treated  the  Tory  woman  with  a  touch  of  his 
biting  sarcasm,  was  a  worthy  Revolutionary  soldier.  He  was  born  in  Augusta  County, 
Virginia,  in  1755,  and  settled  in  Tryon.  sincft  Rutherford  County,  North  Carolina,  prior  to 
the  Revolution.  He  served  throughout  the  war,  a  part  of  the  time  in  Captain  Miller's  com- 
pany. He  took  part  in  Rutherford's  campaign  against  the  Cherokees  in  1776;  in  the  fight 
at  Earle's  on  North  Pacolet;  in  chasing  Dunlap  to  Prince's  Fort;  and  was  in  Captain 
Edward  Hampton's  company  at  the  capture  of  Fort  Anderson,  on  Thicketty  creek.  It 
was,  as  he  used  to  relate,  a  matter  of  great  satisfaction  to  him.  that  he  aided  in  capturing 
at  King's  Mountain  some  of  his  Tory  acquaintances  who  had  formerly  pursued  him  when 
unable  to  defend  himself  He  served  in  Captain  Inman's  company  at  the  siege  of  Ninety 
Six,  in  1781  ;  and  not  long  after  was  appointed  a  Captain,  and  guarded  the  stations  at 
Earle's,  Russell's,  Waddleton's  and  White  Oak.  Captain  Gray  lived  to  enjoy  a  pension, 
and  died  in  Rutherford  County.  October  21st,  1836,  at  the  good  old  age  of  eighty-one  years. 

^American  Review,  December,   1848. 

328  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

stripped  of  provisions,  and  both  the  patriots  and  their  pris- 
oners suffered  greatly  for  want  of  the  necessaries  of  Hfe. 
"The  party,"  says  the  British  Lieutenant  Allaire,  "was 
kept  marching  two  days  without  any  kind  of  provisions." 
Thomas  Young,  in  his  narrative,  refers  to  the  army 
arriving  on  Cane  creek  with  the  prisoners,  "where,"  he  adds, 
"we  all  came  near  starving  to  death.  The  countr}'  was 
very  thinly  settled,  and  provisions  could  not  be  had  for  love 
or  money.  I  thought  green  pumpkins,  sliced  and  fried, 
about  the  sweetest  eating  I  ever  had  in  my  life.  "  *  The  poor 
prisoners  fared  worse,  for  their  food  was  uncooked.  When 
camped  for  the  night,  they  were  fed,  while  surrounded  by  a 
cordon-guard,  like  so  many  farmer's  swine — corn  upon  the 
ear,  and  raw  pumpkins,  being  thrown  to  them,  which  the 
hungry  fellows  would  seize  with  avidity,  f  To  expedite  the 
march  of  the  arm)-.  Colonel  Campbell  issued  an  order  on 
the  thirteenth,  while  yet  encamped  at  Walker's  place, 
directing  that  all  the  wounded  who  were  not  able  to  march 
with  the  army,  should  be  billeted  in  the  best  manner  pos- 
sible, the  several  companies  to  which  they  belonged  provid- 
ing the  necessary  assistance  for  their  removal  to  places 
selected  for  them.  \  This  was  probably  intended  to  lighten 
the  army  of  a  part  of  its  encumbrance  ;  but  we  judge,  it  was 
found  impracticable  in  that  settlement,  in  consequence  of 
the  scarcity  of  pro\isions.  That  day,  according  to  Allaire's 
Diary,  the  troops  moved,  with  their  prisoners,  five  or  six 
miles,  north-east  of  Walker's  to  Bickerstaff's,  or  Bigger- 
staff's  Old  Fields,  since  known  as  the  Red  Chimneys,  where 
a  stack  of  chimneys  long  stood  after  the  house  had  decayed 
and  been  demolished.  This  locality  is  on  Robertson's 
creek,  some  nine  miles  north-east  of  the  present  village  of 

■■'Orion  Magazine.  October,  1843. 

+  Conversations  with  John  Spelts,  an  eye-witness  to  these  scenes  ;  and  also  with  Ben- 
jamin Starritt. 

J  Colonel  Campbell's  MS.  order,  preserved  by  General  Preston. 



October— November,  1780. 

Colonel  Campbell  Denounces  Plundering. —  Complaints  against  Tory 
Leaders. —  Their  Outrages  on  the  Whigs. — A  Court  called  to  Con- 
sider the  Matter. — Retaliation  for  British  Executions  Demanded. — 
A  Law  Found  to  Meet  the  Case. —  Charges  against  Mills,  Gilkey, 
and  McFall. —  Colotiel  Davenport  Noticed. — Nwnber  of  Tories 
Tried  and  Condemned. —  Case  of  fames  Crawford. — One  of  tlie 
Prisoners  Released. —  Cleveland  Favoring  Severe  Measures. — 
Motives  of  the  Patriots  Vindicated. — Shelby's  Explanation. — 
Tories  Executed — their  Names  and  Residence. — Paddy  Carr's 
Remarks,  and  Notice  of  Him. — Baldwin's  Singular  Escape. — 
Further  Executions  Stopped. —  Tories  Subsequently  Hung. — Rumor 
of  Tarleton's  Approach. —  Whigs  Hasten  to  the  Catawba. — A  Hard 
Day's  March — Sufferings  of  Patriots  and  Prisoners. — Major  Mc- 
Dowell's Kindness. — Mrs.  McDowell's  Treatment  of  British  Offi- 
cers.— Some  of  the  Whig  Troops  Retire. — Disposition  of  the  JVounded. 
— PriSioners  Escape — One  Re-taken  and  Hung. — March  to  the 
Moravian  Settlements. — Bob  Powell's  Challe7ige. —  Official  Account 
of  the  Battle  Prepared. —  Campbell  ajid  Shelby  Visit  General  Gates. 
—  Cleveland  left  in  Command. — His  Trial  of  Tories. — Escape  of 
Green  and  Langum. —  Cleveland  Assaults  Doctor  fohnson. —  Colonel 
Armstrong  Succeeds  to  the  Command. — Escape  of  British  Officers. 

While  encamped  at  BickerstafF's,  on  Saturday,  the  four- 
teenth, Colonel  Campbell  issued  a  General  Order.,  deplor- 
ing the  "  many  deserters  from  the  army,"  and  the  felonies 
committed  by  them  on  the  poverty-stricken  people  of  the 
country.  "  It  is  with  anxiety,"  he  adds,  "  that  I  hear  the 
complaints  of  the  inliabitants  on  account  of  the  plundering 
parties  who  issue  out  of  the  camp,  and  indiscriminately  rob 
both  Whig  and  Tory,  leaving  our  friends,  I  believe,  in  a 
worse  situation  than  the  enemy  would  have  done;"  and 
appeals  to  the  officers  "  to  exert  themselves  in  suppressing 


this  abominable  practice,  degrading  to  the  name  of  soldiers." 
He  further  orders  that  none  of  the  troops  be  discharged, 
till  the  prisoners  can  be  transferred  to  a  proper  guard.  * 
But  some  of  the  prisoners  were  soon  to  be  disposed  of  in  a 
manner  evidently  not  anticipated  when  the  order  just  issued 
was  made  known  to  the  army. 

During  this  day,  an  important  occurrence  transpired  at 
Bickerstaft''s.  The  officers  of  the  two  Carolinas  united  in 
presenting  a  complaint  to  Colonel  Campbell,  that  there 
were,  among  the  prisoners,  a  number  who  were  robbers, 
house-burners,  parole-breakers,  and  assassins.  The  British 
victory  near  Camden  had  made,  says  General  Preston, 
"  Cornwallis  complete  master  of  South  Carolina.  This 
power  he  was  using  with  cruelty,  unparalleled  in  modern 
civilized  conquest ;  binding  down  the  conquered  people 
like  malefactors,  regarding  each  Rebel  as  a  condemned 
criminal,  and  checking  everjr  murmur,  answering  every 
suspicion  with  the  sword  and  the  fire-brand.  If  a  suspected 
Whig  fled  from  his  house  to  escape  the  insult,  the  scourge 
or  the  rope,  the  myrmidons  of  Ferguson  and  Tarleton 
burned  it  down,  and  ravished  his  wife  and  daughters  ;  if  a 
son  refused  to  betray  his  parent,  he  was  hung  like  a  dog ; 
if  a  wife  refused  to  tell  the  hiding-place  of  her  husband,  her 
belly  was  ripped  open  by  the  butcher-knife  of  the  Tory  ; 
and  to  add  double  horror  and  infamy  to  the  deep  damna- 
tion of  such  deeds,  Americans  were  forced  to  be  the  instru- 
ments for  perpetrating  them.  That  which  Tarleton  (beast, 
murderer,  hypocrite,  ravisher  as  he  was,)  was  ashamed  to 
do,  he  had  done  by  Americans — neighbors,  kinsmen  of  his 
victims.  I  draw  no  fancy  picture — the  truth  is  wilder  far 
than  the  fabulist's  imagination  can  feign."  \ 

Bancroft  touchingly  depicts  the  sad  condition  of  the 
people,  where  unchecked  Toryism  had  borne  sway  :  "  The 
sorrows  of   children  and  women,"  he  says,   "  robbed   and 

"^'MS.   Order  preserved  by   General  Preston, 
t  King's  Mountain  Address,  October,  1855,  49. 


wronged,  shelterless,  stripped  of  all  clothes  but  those  the}^ 
wore,  nestling  tibout  fires  they  kindled  on  the  ground,  and 
mourning  for  their  fathers  and  husbands,"  were  witnessed 
on  every  hand  ;  and  these  helpless  suflerers  appealed  to  all 
hearts  for  sympathy  and  protection.  Colonel  Campbell,  on 
the  strength  of  the  complaints  made  to  him,  was  induced  to 
order  tlie  convening  of  a  court,  to  examine  fully  into  the 
matter.  T*lie  Carolina  officers  urged,  that,  if  these  men 
should  escape,  exasperated,  as  they  now  were,  in  con- 
sequence of  their  humiliating  defeat,  they  would  com- 
mit other  enormities  worse  than  their  former  ones.* 
The  British  leaders  had,  in  a  high-handed  and  summary 
manner,  hung  not  a  few  of  the  captured  patriots  at 
Camden,  and  more  recently  at  Ninety  Six,  and  Augusta ; 
and  now  that  the  Whigs  had  the  means  of  retaliation  at 
their  command,  they  began  to  consider  whether  it  was 
not  their  duty  to  exercise  it ;  thinking,  probably,  that  it 
would  have  a  healthful  influence  upon  the  Loyalists — that 
the  disease  of  Toryism,  in  its  worst  aspects,  was  disastrous 
in  its  effects,  and  heroic  treatment  had  become  necessary. 

Colonel  Shelby,  with  others,  seems  to  have  taken  this 
view  of  the  subject.  When  the  mountaineers  "reached 
Gilbert  Town,"  says  Shelby,  "  a  week  after  the  battle,  they 
were  informed  by  a  paroled  officer,  that  he  had  seen  eleven 
patriots  hung  at  Ninety  Six  a  few  days  before,  for  being 
Rebels.  Similar  cruel  and  unjustifiable  acts  had  been 
committed  before.  In  the  opinion  of  the  patriots,  it  required 
retaliatory  measures  to  put  a  stop  to  these  atrocities.  A 
copy  of  the  law  of  North  Carolina  was  obtained,  which 
authorized  two  magistrates  to  summon  a  jurj^  and  forthwith 
to  try,  and,  if  found  guilty,  to  execvite  persons  who  had 
violated  its  precepts."  \  This  law  providing  capital  punish- 
ment, must  have  had  reference  to  those  guilty  of  murder, 
arson,  house-breaking,   riots,  and  other  criminal  offences. 

*  Ensign  Robert  Campbell's  King's  Mountain  narrative. 
\  Shelby,  in  American  Review,  December,  1848. 


"Colonel  Campbell,"  says  Ensign  Campbell,  "complied, 
and  ordered  a  court-martial  to  sit  immediateh',  composed  of 
the  field  officers  and  Captains,  who  were  ordered  to  inquire 
into  the  complaints  which  had  been  made.  The  court  was 
conducted  orderljr,  and  witnesses  were  called  and  examined 
in  each  case — the  consequence  was,  that  thirty-two  were 
condemned."  * 

Under  the  law  as  cited  by  Colonel  Shelby,  while  the 
tribunal  was,  no  doubt,  practically,  a  court-martial,  it  was 
nominally,  at  least,  a  civil  court,  with  two  presiding  justices. 
There  was  no  difficulty  on  this  point,  for  most  of  the 
North  Carolina  officers  were  magistrates  at  home — Colonel 
Cleveland,  and  four  or  five  others,  of  the  Wilkes  regiment 
alone  filling  that  position.  The  jury  was  composed  of 
twelve  officers — Lieutenant  Allaire,  in  \i\s  Diary,  denouncing 
it  as  "  an  infamous  mock  jury."  "  Under  this  law,"  says 
Shelby,  "thirty-six  men  were  tried,  and  found  guilty  of 
breaking  open  houses,  killing  the  men,  turning  the  women 
and  children  out  of  doors,  and  burning  the  houses.  The 
trial  was  concluded  late  at  night;  and  the  execution  of  the 
law  was  as  summary  as  the  trial." 

How  much  of  the  evidence,  hurriedly  adduced,  was  one- 
sided and  prejudiced,  it  is  not  possible  at  this  late  day  to 
determine.  Colonel  Ambrose  Mills,  the  principal  person 
of  those  condemned,  was  a  man  of  fair  reputation,  and 
must  have  been  regarded  chiefly  in  the  light  of  being  a 
proper  and  prominent  character  upon  whom  to  exercise 
retaliator}^  measures  ;  and  yet  it  was  necessary  to  make 
some  specific  charge  against  him — the  only  one  coming 
down  to  us,  is  that  related  bj^  Silas  McBee,  one  of  the 
King's  Mountain  men  under  Colonel  Williams,  that  Mills 
had,  on  some  former  occasion,  instigated  the  Cherokees  to 
desolate  the  frontier  of  South  Carolina,  which  was  very 
likely  without  foundation.  It  was  proven  against  Captain 
Walter  Gilkey,  that  he  had  called  at  the  house  of  a  Whig ; 

'■'■Annals  of  the  Ar7ny  o/  Tennessee,  1878, 


and  inquiring  if  he  was  at  liome,  was  informed  by  his  son, 
a  3-outh,  that  he  was  absent,  when  the  Tory  Captain 
immediately  drew  his  pistol,  discharged  it,  wounding  the 
lad  in  the  arm,  and  taking  his  gun  from  him.  Recovering 
from  his  wound,  this  youth  was  now  with  the  mountaineers, 
and  testified  against  his  would-be  murderer.  Gilkey's  aged 
father  was  present,  and  offered  in  vain  his  horse,  saddle  and 
bridle,  and  a  hundred  dollars  in  money,  as  a  ransom  for 
his  son.* 

Another  case  somewhat  similar  to  Gilkey's,  was  that  of 
John  McFall,  a  noted  Tory  leader  of  Burke  County.  Head- 
ing a  party  of  mounted  Loyalists,  McFall  dashed  up  to  the 
house  of  Martin  Davenport,  on  John's  river,  hoping  to 
capture  or  kill  him,  as  he  was  a  prominent  Whig,  and  had, 
more  than  once,  marched  against  the  Tories,  under  Colonel 
Cleveland  and  Major  McDowell.  But  they  failed  to  find 
him,  as  he  was  absent  in  the  service.  The  Tory  band  vented 
their  spleen  and  abuse  on  Mrs.  Davenport,  and  directed  her 
to  prepare  breakfast  for  them  ;  and  McFall  ordered  the  lad, 
William  Davenport,  then  in  his  tenth  year,  to  go  to  the  corn 
crib,  procure  some  corn,  and  feed  the  horses  in  the  trough 
pi^epared  for  such  use  at  the  hitching  post.  After  getting 
their  meal,  and  coming  out  to  start  off,  McFall  discovered 
that  the  horses  had  not  been  fed,  and  asked  the  little  fellow 
roughl}'  why  he  had  not  done  as  he  had  bidden  him  ?  The 
spirited  little  Rebel  replied  :  "  If  you  want  your  horses  fed, 
feed  them  yourself."  Flying  into  a  passion,  McFall  cut  a 
switch  and  whipped  him  smartly. 

At  the  trial  at  Bickerstaff 's,  when  McFall's  case  was 
reached.  Major  McDowell,  as  the  proper  representa- 
tive of  Burke  County,  whence  the  culprit  hailed,  was 
called  on  to  give  his  testimony  ;  when,  not  probably  regard- 
ing McFall's  conduct  as  deserving  of  death,  he  was  disposed 

*  Conversations  with  Silas  McBee  ;  narrative  of  Ensign  Robert  Campbell ;  MS.  corres- 
pondence of  W,  L.  Twitty,  as  related  by  the  venerable  John  Gilkey,  of  Rutherford  County, 
N.  C,  in  no  way  related  to  his  Tory  namesake. 

334  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

to  be  lenient  towards  him.  Colonel  Cleveland,  who,  it 
would  appear,  was  one  of  the  presiding  justices,  had  his 
attention  attracted  from  his  paper,  upon  which  he  was  mak- 
ing some  notes,  by  hearing  McFall's  name  mentioned, 
now  spoke  up — "That  man,  McFall,  went  to  the  house 
of  Martin  Davenport,  one  of  my  best  soldiers,  when  he 
was  awav  from  home,  fighting  for  his  country,  insulted  his 
wife,  and  whipped  his  child;  and  no  such  man  ought  to 
be  allowed  to  live."  *  His  fate  was  sealed  by  this  revela- 
tion;  but  his  brother,  Arthur  McFall,  the  old  hunter  of  the 
mountains,  was  saved  through  the  kind  intervention  of  Major 
and  Captain  McDowell,  believing,  as  he  had  been  wounded 
in  the  arm  at  King's  Mountain,  it  would  admonish  him  not 
to  be  found  in  the  future  in  bad  company,  f 

Benjamin  Sharp  represents  that  the  number  of  Tories 
condemned  to  the  gallows  was  upwards  of  forty,  Thomas 
Maxwell  and  Governor  David  Campbell  say  thirty-nine, 
Shelby  thirty-six.  General  Lenoir  and  Ensign  Campbell 
thirty-two,  while  Ramsey's  Tennessee,  Lieutenant  Allaire, 
Benjamin  Starritt  and  others,  give  the  number  as  thirty. 
Starritt  asserts  that  those  upon  whom  sentence  of  death  had 
been  pronounced,  were  divided  into  three  classes  of  ten  each 

*  MS.  pension  statement  of  Richard  Ballew,  of  Knox  County,  Ky  ,  formerly  of  Burke 
County.  N  C.  ;  MS.  letters  of  Hon.  J.  C.  Harper,  and  Captain  W.  W.  Lenoir,  who  had 
the  particulars  from  William  Davenport  himself.  Colonel  Davenport  was  born  in  Culpeper 
County,  Virginia.  October  12,  1770.  His  mother  dying  about  the  close  of  the  Revolution 
of  small-po-K,  his  father  removed  to  the  mountain  region,  on  Toe  river,  in  now  Mitchell 
County;  a  hunter's  paradise,  where  he  could  indulge  himself  in  his  favorite  occupation 
of  hunting,  and  where  his  son  William  killed  the  last  elk  ever  seen  in  North  Carolina. 
Colonel  William  Davenport  became  a  man  of  prominence,  representing  Burke  County  in 
the  House  of  Commons  in  180a,  and  in  the  Senate  in  1802.  He  possessed  an  extraordinary 
memory,  was  a  most  excellent  man  ;  and  was  the  chief  founder  of  Davenport  Female  Col- 
lege at  Lenoir.  He  married  the  widow  of  Major  Charles  Gordon,  one  of  the  King's  Moun- 
tain heroes;  and  lived  for  many  years  in  the  Happy  Valley  of  the  Yadkin,  three  and  a 
half  miles  above  Fort  Defiance,  where  he  died  August  ig,  1859,  in  the  eighty-ninth  year  of 
his  age. 

"i-MS.  correspondence  ofW.  A.  McCall,  Esq.,  of  McDowell  County,  N.  C,  who  knew 
Arthur  McFall  very  well.  He  used  to  speak  kindly  of  the  McDowells  befriending  him, 
and  said  that  Colonel  Cleveland  had  little  mercy  on  Americans  who  were  caught  fighting 
with  the  British.  Arthur  McFall  spent  most  of  his  life  as  a  hunter  in  the  mountains, 
making  his  home,  when  in  the  settlements,  with  old  acquaintances.  He  was  a  man  after 
Daniel  Boone's  own  heart ;  and  died  about  the  year  1835,  on  Grassy  Creek,  at  the  venerable 
age  of  between  ninety  and  a  hundred  years. 


— Colonel  Mills  heading  the  first  class,  and  James  Crawford 
the  second  class.  It  will  be  remembered  that  Crawford, 
who  lived  at  the  head  of  French  Broad  river,  belonged  to 
Sevier's  regiment ;  and  while  at  "  The  Bald  "  of  the  Yellow 
Mountain  on  their  outward  march,  had  enticed  Samuel 
Chambers,  an  inexperienced  youth,  to  desert  with  him,  and 
they  gave  Ferguson  information  of  the  plans  and  approach 
of  the  mountaineers.  It  is  said,  that  when  Ferguson  had 
taken  post  on  King's  Mountain,  and  a  week  had  elapsed 
since  the  renegades  brought  the  report,  that  he  had  caused 
Crawford  to  be  tried  and  condemned  for  bringing  false  in- 
telligence ;  and  the  evening  of  the  seventh  of  October  had 
been  set  for  his  execution.  However  this  may  have  been, 
Colonel  Sevier  interceded  in  Crawford's  behalf,  as  he  could 
not  bear  to  see  his  old  neighbor  and  friend  suffer  an  igno- 
minious  death,  and  had  him  pardoned.  He  subsequently 
removed  to  Georgia.  Young  Chambers'  guilt  was  excused 
on  account  of  his  youthfulness.  *  Judged  by  the  laws  of 
war,  Crawford  was  a  deserter  ;  and  in  view  of  the  injury  he 
tried  to  inflict  on  the  Whig  cause,  he  as  richly  deserved  the 
halter  as  Andr^,  and  doubtless  much  more  than  anj-  of  his 
Tory  associates. 

As  Abram  Forney,  one  of  the  Lincoln  troops,  was  sur- 
veying the  prisoners,  through  the  guard  surrounding  them, 
he  discovered  one  of  his  neighbors,  who  only  a  short  ,time 
before  King's  Mountain  battle,  had  been  acting  with  the 
Whigs  ;  but  had  been  over-persuaded,  by  some  of  his  Tory 
acquaintances,  to  join  the  King's  troops.  Upon  seeing  him, 
Forney  exclaimed — "  Is  that  you,  Simon?"  "Yes,"  he 
replied,  quickly,  "  it  is,  Abram,  and  I  beg  j'ou  to  get  me  out 
of  this  bull-pen  ;  if  you  do,  I  will  promise  never  to  be 
caught  in  such  a  scrape  again."  When  it  was,  accordingly, 
made  to  appear  on  the  day  of  trial,  that  he  had  been  unfortu- 
nately wrought  upon  by  some  Tory  neighbors,  such  a  miti- 
gation of  his  disloyalty  was  presented  as  to  induce  the  court 

*MS.  notes  of  conversations  with  James  and  George  W.  Sevier,  and  Benjamin  Starritt. 


to  overlook  his  offence,  and  set  him  at  liberty.  Soon  after- 
wards, true  to  his  promise,  he  joined  his  former  Whig 
comrades,  marched  to  the  battle  of  Guilford,  and  made  a 
good  soldier  to  the  end  of  the  war.  * 

So  far  as  the  evidence  goes.  Colonel  Cleveland  was 
probably  more  active  and  determined  than  any  other  officer 
in  bringing  about  these  severe  measures ;  though  Colonel 
Brandon,  it  was  well  known,  was  an  inveterate  hater  of 
Tories  ;  and  Colonel  Shelby  seems  to  have  aided  in  find- 
ing a  State  law  that  would  meet  these  cases.  It  is  said 
that  Cleveland  had  previously  threatened  to  hang  certain 
Tories  whenever  he  could  catch  them ;  f  and  Governor 
Rutledge,  shortly  after  this  affair,  ascribed  to  him  the  chief 
merit  of  the  execution  of  several  "  noted  horse  thieves  and 
Tories"  taken  at  King's  Mountain.  J 

The  Southern  country  was  then  in  a  very  critical  condi- 
tion, and  there  seemed  to  be  a  grave  necessity  for  checking, 
by  stern  and  exemplary  punishment,  the  Tory  lawlessness 
that  largely  over-spread  tlie  land,  and  impressing  tliat 
class  with  a  proper  sense  of  the  power  and  determination 
of  the  Whigs  to  protect  their  patriot  friends,  and  punish 
their  guilty  enemies.  Referring  to  the  action  at  Bicker- 
staff's,  Ensign  Campbell  well  observes:  "The  officers  on 
that  occasion  acted  from  an  honorable  motive  to  do  the 
greatest  good  in  their  power  for  the  public  service,  and  to 
check  those  enormities  so  frequently  committed  in  the  States 
of  North  and  South  Carolina  at  that  time,  their  distress 
being  almost  unequalled  in  the  annals  of  the  American 
Revolution."  The  historian,  Bancroft,  errs  in  supposing 
that  these  executions  were  the  work  of  lawless  "private 
soldiers.''  §  The  complaints  against  the  Tory  leaders  were 
made  by  the  officers  of  the  western  army  from  the  two 
Carolinas,  and  the  court  and  jury  were    composed    exclu- 

*  Hunter's  Sketches,  pp.  266-67. 

\Got^ori's  American  Revohttion,\v.y  ^66'^  Mrs.  Warren's  Revolution^W,  2^2, 

J  RusselVs  Magazine,    1857,  i,  543. 

2  History  of  the   United  States,  a,  339. 


sively  of  officers — and  all  was  done  under  the  form  and 
sanction  of  law. 

While  the  jurist-historian,  Johnson,  could  have  wished 
that  the  conquerors  of  Ferguson  had  been  magnanimous, 
and  spared  these  miserable  wretches  from  the  gallows,  yet 
as  an  act  of  justice  and  public  policy  he  vindicates  their 
conduct.  Many  severe  animadversions,  he  observes,  have 
been  showered  on  the  brave  men  who  fought  at  King's 
Mountain  for  this  instance  of  supposed  severity.  War,  in 
its  mildest  form,  is  so  full  of  horrors,  that  the  mind  recoils 
from  vindicating  any  act  that  can,  in  the  remotest  degree, 
increase  its  miseries.  To  these  no  act  contributes  more 
than  that  of  retaliation.  Hence  no  act  should  be  ventured 
upon  with  more  solemn  deliberation,  and  none  so  proper  to 
be  confined  to  a  commander-in-chief,  or  the  civil  power. 
But  the  brave  men  who  fought  in  the  affair  at  King's 
Mountain,  are  not  to  be  left  loaded  with  unmerited  censure. 

The  calmest  and  most  dispassionate  reflection  upon 
their  conduct,  on  this  occasion,  will  lead  to  the  conviction, 
that  if  they  committed  any  offence,  it  was  against  their  own 
country — not  against  the  enemy.  That  instead  of  being 
instigated  by  a  thirst  of  blood,  they  acted  solely  with  a  view 
to  put  an  end  to  its  effusion  ;  and  boldly,  for  this  purpose, 
took  upon  themselves  all  the  dangers  that  a  system  of  retalia- 
tion could  superinduce.  The  officers  of  the  American  army, 
who,  twelve  months  afterwards,  hazarded  their  lives  by 
calling  upon  their  General  to  avenge  the  death  of  Hayne, 
justly  challenge  the  gratitude  and  admiration  of  their 
country  ;  but  the  men  of  King's  Mountain  (for  it  is  avowed 
as  a  popular  act,  and  not  that  of  their  chief  alone),  merit 
the  additional  reputation  of  having  assumed  on  themselves 
the  entire  responsibility,  without  wishing  to  involve  the 
regular  army  in  their  dangers.  And  this  was  done  in  the 
plenitude  of  British  triumph,  and  when  not  a  man  of  them 
could  count  on  safetj'  for  an  hour,  in  anything  but  his  own 
bravery  and  vigilance. 


But  what  was  the  prospect  before  them?  They  were 
all  proscribed  men  ;  the  measures  of  Lord  CornwalHs  had 
put  them  out  of  the  protection  of  civilized  warfare  ;  and  the 
spirit  in  which  his  proclamations  and  instructions  were 
executed  by  his  officers,  had  put  them  out  of  the  protection 
of  common  humanity.  The  massacres  at  Camden  had 
occurred  not  six  weeks  before,  and  those  of  Browne,  at 
Augusta,  scarcely  half  that  time.  Could  they  look  on  and 
see  this  system  of  cruelty  prosecuted,  and  not  try  the 
only  melancholy  measure  that  could  check  it?  The  effect 
proved  that  there  was  as  much  of  reflection  as  of  passion  in 
the  act ;  for  the  little  despots  who  then  held  the  country, 
dared  prosecute  the  measure  no  farther.  Another  and  an 
incontestible  proof  that  blind  revenge  did  not  preside  over 
the  counsels  that  consigned  these  men  to  death,  is  drawn 
from  the  deliberation  with  which  they  were  selected,  and 
the  mildness  manifested  to  the  residue  of  the  prisoners. 

It  has  been  before  observed,  that,  in  the  ranks  of  Col- 
onel Ferguson,  there  were  many  individuals  notorious  as 
habitual  plunderers  and  murderers.  What  was  to  be  done 
with  these?  There  were  no  courts  of  justice  to  punish  their 
offences  ;*  and,  to  detain  them  as  prisoners  of  war,  was  to 
make  them  objects  of  exchange.  Should  such  pests  to 
society  be  again  enlarged,  and  suffered  to  renew  their  out- 
rages? Capture  in  arms  does  not  exempt  the  deserter  from 
the  gallows;  why  should  it  the  cold-blooded  murderer? 
There  was  no  alternative  left ;  and  the  officers,  with  all  the 
attention  to  form  that  circumstances  would  permit,  and 
more — a  great  deal,  it   is  believed — than  either  Browne   or 

*  Such  was  the  distraction  of  the  times,  that  South  Carolina,  during  the  period  of 
1780-S1,  was  without  a  civil  government,  Governor  Rutledge  having  been  compelled  to 
retire  from  the  State,  and  the  Lieutenant  Governor  and  some  of  the  Council  were  prisoners 
of  war.  Nor  during  a  portion  of  the  war  did  North  Carolina  fare  much  better.  At  one 
time,  one  of  her  high  judicial  officers,  Samuel  Spencer,  could  only  execute  the  laws 
against  Tories  with  threats  and  attempted  intimidation  ;  the  Governor,  at  one  period,  was 
captured  and  carried  away.  When  Cornw^allis  invaded  the  State,  the  prominent  officials 
fled,  carrying  the  public  records  to  Washington  County,  Virginia,  on  the  lower  frontiers 
of  Holston,  as  a  place  of  asylum  and  security,  as  is  shown  by  a  MS.  letter  of  Colonel 
Arthur  Campbell  to  Hon.  David  Campbell,  September  15,   1810. 


Cornwallis  had  exhibited,  could  only  form  a  council,  and 
consign  them  to  the  fate  that  would  have  awaited  them  in 
the  regular  administration  of  justice.  * 

It  is  but  just  and  proper,  in  this  connection,  to  give  the 
views  of  Colonel  Shelby,  one  of  the  conspicuous  actors  in 
this  whole  affair  ;  and  he  seems  to  justify  it  wholly  as  a 
measure  of  retaliation  :  It  is  impossible,  he  observes,  for 
those  who  have  not  lived  in  its  midst,  to  conceive  of  the 
exasperation  which  prevails  in  a  civil  war.  The  execution, 
therefore,  of  the  nine  Tories  at  [near]  Gilbert  Town,  will, 
by  manjr  persons,  be  considered  an  act  of  retaliation  unnec- 
essarily cruel.  It  was  believed  by  those  who  were  on  the 
ground  to  be  both  necessary  and  proper,  for  the  purpose  of 
putting  a  stop  to  the  execution  of  the  patriots  in  the  Caro- 
linas  by  the  Tories  and  British.  The  event  proved  the 
justice  of  the  expectation  of  the  patriots.  The  execution  of 
the  Tories  did  stop  the  execution  of  the  Whigs.  And  it 
maj^  be  remarked  of  this  cruel  and  lamentable  mode  of 
retaliation,  that,  whatever  excuse  and  pretenses  the  Tories 
may  have  had  for  their  atrocities,  the  British  officers,  who 
often  ordered  the  execution  of  Whigs,  had  none.  Their 
training  to  arms,  and  military  education,  should  have  pre- 
vented them  from  violating  the  rules  of  civilized  warfare  in 
so  essential  a  point,  f 

Early  in  the  evening,  the  trials  having  been  brought  to 
a  conclusion,  a  suitable  oak  was  selected,  upon  a  projecting 
limb  of  which  the  executions  were  to  take  place.  It  was 
by  the  road  side,  near  the  camp,  and  is  yet  standing,  known 
in  all  that  region  as  the  Gallows  Oak.  Torch-lights  were 
procured,  the  condemned  brought  out,  around  whom  the 
troops  formed  four  deep.  It  was  a  singular  and  interesting 
night  scene,  the  dark  old  woods  illuminated  with  the  wild 
glare  of  hundreds  of  pine-knot  torches  ;  and  quite  a  number 
of  the  Loyalist  leaders  of  the  Carolinas  about  to  be  launched 

^--  Johnson's  Life  of  Greene,  i.  pp.  309-11. 

■j"  Conversations  with  Governor  Sheiby,  in  Atnerican   Review,  December, 


into  eternity.  The  names  of  the  condemned  Tories  were — 
Colonel  Ambrose  Mills,  Captain  James  Chitwood,  Captain 
Wilson,  Captain  Walter  Gilkey,  Captain  Grimes,  Lieuten- 
ant LafFerty,  John  McFall,  John  Bibby,  and  Augustine 
Hobbs.  They  were  swung  off  three  at  a  time,  and  left 
suspended  at  the  place  of  execution.  According  to  Lieuten- 
ant Allaire's  account,  they  died  like  soldiers — like  martyrs, 
in  their  own  and  friends'  estimation.  "  These  brave  but  un- 
fortunate Loyalists,"  says  Allaire,  "  with  their  latest  breath 
expressed  their  unutterable  detestation  of  the  Rebels,  and 
of  their  base  and  infamous  proceedings  ;  and,  as  they  were 
being  turned  off,  extolled  their  King  and  the  British  Gov- 
ernment. Mills,  Wilson  and Chitwooddiedlike  Romans."  * 
Among  the  small  party  of  Georgians  who  served  in  the 
campaign,  was  the  noted  Captain  Paddy  Carr,  heretofore 
introduced  to  the  reader.  Devoid,  as  he  was,  of  the  finer 
feelings  of  humanity,  he  was  deeply  interested  in,  and 
greatly  enjoyed  these  sickening  executions.     If  there  was 

*  Allaire's  MS.  Diary ;  and  his  statements  as  given  in  the  Scofs  Magazine  and  Riving- 
ton's  Royal  Gazette. 

It  may  be  well  to  give  the  authorities  for  the  names  of  the  Loyalist  leaders  who  suffered 
on  this  occasion.  Lord  Cornwallis,  in  his  correspondence,  names  Colonel  Mills,  as  do 
several  historians;  Allaire  gives  the  names  of  Captains  Wilson  and  Chitwood;  Gilkey 
is  referred  to  by  Ensign  Campbell,  and  specifically  named  by  Silas  McBee,  and  the  vener- 
able John  Gilkey  ;  Captain  Grimes  is  mentioned  in  Ramsey's  Tennessee,  and  Putnam's 
Middle  Tennessee;  McFall's  name  has  been  preserved  by  Richard  Ballew,  John  Spelts, 
and  Arthur  McFall — eye-witnesses,  and  his  prior  acts  at  Davenports  are  related  by  Hon. 
J.  C.  Harper  and  Captain  W.  W.  Lenoir,  who  derived  them  from  William  Davenport ;  the 
names  of  Lafferty  and  Bibby  have  been  communicated  by  W.  L.  Twitty,  as  the  tradi- 
tions of  aged  people  of  Rutherford  County,  N.  C,  where  they,  as  well  as  Chitwood  lived, 
whose  name  is  likewise  preserved  in  the  memories  of  the  aged  inhabitants  of  that  region  ; 
and  the  name  of  Hobbs  is  alone  remembered  by  Silas  McBee. 

Colonel  Mills  resided  on  Green  river,  in  Rutherford  County  ;  Captain  Wilson,  in  the 
Ninety  Six  region,  South  Carolina;  Chitwood,  Lafferty,  Bibby,  and  probably  Gilkey,  in 
Rutherford;  McFall,  in  Burke  County ;  Hobbs  most  likely  In  South  Carolina ;  and  Grimes 
in  East  Tennessee,  where  he  was  a  leader  of  a  party  of  Tory  horse-thieves  and  highway- 
men, and  where  some  of  his  band  were  taken  and  hung.  He  fled  to  escape  summary  pun- 
ishment, but  justice  overtook  him  in  the  end.  His  bandit  career  in  Tennessee  is  noticed 
in    Ramsey's  History  of    that  State,  pp.  179.  243  ;  and  Putnam's   Middle  Tennessee,  58. 

General  DePeyster,  in  his  able  Address  on  King's  Mountain,  before  the  New  York 
Historical  Society,  January,  4,  i8Sr,  has  inadvertently  fallen  into  the  error  of  including 
Captain  Oates  as  amon^  those  executed  with  Colonel  Mills,  citing  Mrs.  Warren's  History 
as  authority.  Lord  Cornwallis,  in  his  letter  to  General  Smallwood,  November,  10,  1780. 
states  that  Captain  Oates  was  taken  by  the  Americans  near  the  Pedee,  in  South  Carolina, 
and  "lately  put  to  death." 


anything  he  hated  more  than  another,  it  was  a  Tory  ;  and, 
it  may  be,  much  of  his  extreme  bitterness  grew  out  of  the 
fact,  that  he  knew  full  well  how  intensely  he,  in  turn,  was 
hated  by  the  Loyalists.  Pointing  at  the  unfortunates,  while 
dangling  in  mid-air,  Carr  exclaimed:  ^' Would  to  God 
every  tree  in  the  wilderness  bore  such  fruit  as  that !"  '^ 

After  nine  of  the  Loyalist  leaders  had  been  executed, 
and  three  others  were  about  to  follow  suit,  an  unexpected 
incident  occurred.  Isaac  Baldwin,  one  of  these  condemned 
trio,  had  been  a  leader  of  a  Tory  gang  in  Burke  County, 
who  had  sacked  many  a  house,  stripping  the  unfortunate 
occupants  of  food,  beds  and  clothing  ;  and  not  unfrequently, 
after  tying  them  to  trees,  and  whipping  them  severely, 
would  leave  them  in  their  helpless  and  gory  condition  to 
their  fate.  While  all  eyes  were  directed  to  Baldwin  and 
his  companions,  pinioned,  and  awaiting  the  call  of  the  exe- 
cutioners, a  brother  of  Baldwin's,  a  mere  lad,  approached, 

=''J.  L.  Gray's  MS.  statement;   Rutherford  ^«$'MzVirr,  May  24,  1859. 

The  Revolutionary  war  produced  few  characters  so  singular  and  so  notorious  as 
Patrick  Carr,  He  was  by  birth  an  Irishman,  and  settled  in  Georgia  before  the  commence- 
ment of  the  war.  It  is  only  in  the  latter  part  of  the  contest  we  are  able  to  trace  him.  He 
shared  as  a  Captain  under  Colonel  Clarke  in  the  heroic  attack  on  Augusta,  in  September, 
1780;  then  retired  to  the  Carolinas,  and  joined  the  mountaineers  under  Major  Candler, 
and  fought  at  King's  Mountain.  The  following  month  we  find  him  under  Sumter  at  Black- 
stocks ;  in  May,  1781,  engaged  in  forays  against  British  and  Tory  parties  in  Georgia,  way- 
laying and  defeating    them,   extending    little  or  no  mercy  to  any  of  them.     In    November, 

1781.  when  Major  Jackson  surprised  the  British  post  at  Ogeechee,  and  its  commander, 
Johnson,  was  In  the  act  of  surrendering  his  sword  to  Jackson,  Carr  treacherously  killed 
Captain  Goldsmith.  Johnson  and  his  associates,  judging  that  no  quarters  would  be  given 
them,  instpntly  sprang  into  their  place  of  defence,  and  compelled  the  Americans  to  retire 
with  considerable  loss.  A  notorious  Tory  by  the  name  of  Gunn  had  concerted  a  plan  to 
kill  Colonel  Twiggs,  and  subsequently  fell  into  the  Colonel's  hands,  when  Carr  insisted  that 
Gunn  should  be  hung;  But  Twiggs,  more    humane,  protected  the  prisoner  from  harm.     In 

1782,  Carr  was  made  a  Major,  and,  in  the  spring  and  early  summer,  marched  with  a  force 
over  the  Altamaha,  where  he  had  two  skirmishes  with  whites  and  Indians.  On  one  occasion, 
Carr  was  praised  for  his  bravery,  when  he  replied  that  had  not  God  given  him  too 
merciful  a  heart  he  would  have  made  a  very  good  soldier.  It  is  related  that  he  killed 
eighteen  Tories  on  his  way  back  from  King's  Mountain  and  Blackstocks  to  Georgia  ;  and 
one  hundred  altogether  during  the  war,  with  his  own  hands  !  Certain  it  is,  the  Tones 
stood  in  great  awe  of  him.  He  was  murdered,  in  August,  1802,  in  Jefferson  County, 
Georgia,  where  he  long  resided  ;  and,  it  is  said,  the  act  was  committed  by  descendants  of 
the  Tories.  In  December  following,  the  Jefferson  County  troop  of  Light  Horse  assembled 
at  his  place  of  inteiment,  Lieutenant  Robinson  delivering  a  brief  eulogy,  when  the  military 
fired  a  volley  over  his  grave.     Though  "  a  honey  of  a  patriot,  "  Paddy  Carr  left  a  name 

*' to  other  times, 

Mixed  with  few  virtues,  and  a  thousand  crimes." 


apparently  in  sincere  affection,  to  take  his  parting  leave.  He 
threw  his  arms  around  his  brother,  and  set  up  a  most  piteous 
screamin<i  and  lamentation  as  if  he  would  go  into  convul- 
sions,  or  his  heart  would  break  of  sorrow.  While  all  were 
witnessing  this  touching  scene,  the  youth  managed  to  cut 
the  cords  confining  his  brother,  who  suddenly  darted  away, 
breaking  through  the  line  of  soldiers,  and  easily  escaping 
under  cover  of  the  darkness,  into  the  surrounding  forest. 
Although  he  had  to  make  his  way  through  more  than  a 
thousand  of  the  best  marksmen  in  the  world,  yet  such  was 
the  universal  admiration  or  feeling  on  the  occasion,  that  not 
one  would  lift  a  hand  to  stop  him.  * 

Whether  the  escape  of  Baldwin  produced  a  softening 
effect  on  the  minds  of  the  Whig  leaders — any  feelings  of 
forbearance  towards  the  condemned  survivors  ;  or  whether, 
so  far  as  retaliation,  or  the  hoped-for  intimidating  influence 
on  the  Tories  of  the  country,  was  concerned,  it  was  thought 
enough  lives  had  been  sacrificed,  we  are  not  informed. 
Some  of  these  men  must  have  been  tried  within  the  scope  of 
the  civil  law,  for  crimes  committed  against  society  ;  while 
others  must  have  been  tried  and  condemned  for  violations 
of  the  usages  of  war;f  and  yet,  after  2iS\.,  \h.&  moral  effect 
would  seem  to  have  been  the  principal  motive  for  these 
cases  of  capital  punishment. 

Referring  probably  to  the  two  companions  of  Baldwin 
after  he  had  effected  his  escape,  we  have  this  statement  on 
the  authority  of  Colonel  Shelby:  "  Three  more  were  tied, 
ready  to  be  swung  off.     Shelby  interfered,  and  proposed  to 

*  Conversations  with  John  Spelts  and  Benjamin  Starritt;  Memoir  of  Major  Thomas 
Young;  Johnson's  Life  of  General  Greene,  \.  310. 

Baldwin  made  his  way  into  his  old  region,  in  Burke  County,  where  his  father  resided, 
on  Lower  Creek  of  Catawba  ;  where  some  two  weeks  afterwards,  he  was  espied  in  the 
woods  hy  some  scouts  who  gave  chase,  and  finally  overtook  him,  one  of  the  pursuers  killing 
him  by  a  single  blow  over  the  head  with  his  rifle.  Some  forty-five  years  after  this  tragedy, 
a  younger  brother  of  Ike  Baldwin —prnbibly  the  one  who  had  so  successfully  planned  his 
escape  at  Bickerstaff 's— made  three  ineffectual  attempts  to  kill  the  man  who  had  brained 
the  Tory  free-booter. 

t  Speech  of  General  Alexander  Smyth,  in  Congress,  January  21,  1819,  Niles"  Register, 
XV.,  Supplement,  151. 


stop  it.  The  other  officers  agreed  ;  and  the  three  men  who 
supposed  they  had  seen  their  last  hour,  were  untied."*  The 
inference  is,  that  the  officers  here  referred  to,  who,  with 
Shelby,  exercised  the  pardoning  power,  or  "put  a  stop" 
to  further  executions,  were  the  presiding  officers  of  the 
court,  in  their  character  of  justices,  of  whom  Colonel  Camp- 
bell could  hardly  have  been  one,  though  a  magistrate  at 
home,  for  the  civil  court  was  acting  under  the  laws  of 
North  Carolina  ;  and  yet  Ensign  Campbell,  in  his  narrative, 
speaks  of  the  trials  having  been  conducted  before  a  court- 
martial,  and  adds,  that,  after  the  nine  were  executed,  "  the 
others  were  pardoned  by  the  commanding  officer;"  while 
another  eye-witness,  Benjamin  Sharp,  states  that  "  a  court 
was  detailed,"  and  after  the  nine  were  hung,  "  the  rest 
were  reprieved  by  the  commanding  officer."  Nor  is  the 
language  of  the  late  Governor  Campbell  less  explicit:  "  A 
court-martial  was  ordered  and  organized  to  try  many  of  the 
Tory  officers,  charged  by  the  officers  of  North  and  South 
Carolina  with  many  offences — such  as  murdering  unoffend- 
ing citizens  not  in  arms,  and  without  motive,  save  the  brutal 
one  of  destroying  human  life.  Thirty-nine  were  found 
guilty,  nine  of  whom  were  executed,  and  thirty  were  par- 
doned by  the  commanding  officer."  f  Whether  the  surviv- 
ors were  pardoned  by  the  court  in  its  civil  capacity,  or  by 
the  commanding  officer  at  the  instance  of  a  court-martial, 
the  executions  ceased.  \ 

^^  American  Review,  December,  1848. 

■f  MS.  statement  by  Governor  Campbell. 

J  This,  however,  was  not  the  last  of  the  Tory  executions.  A  few  days  after  King's 
Mountain  battle,  while  some  young  men  of  the  surrounding  country — Thomas  Patterson, 
who  escaped  while  a  prisoner,  and  fought  so  bravely  in  the  action,  is  believed  to  have  been 
one  of  the  party — were  near  the  battle-ground,  looking  for  horses  in  the  range,  they  dis- 
covered one  of  Ferguson's  foragers,  who  was  absent  at  the  time  of  the  engagement.  They 
concluded  to  capture  him  ;  but  on  showing  such  an  intention,  they  were  surprised  at  his 
pluck,  in  firing  on  them  single-handed— the  bullet  whizzing  close  by  them  without  harm. 
The  Tory  then  betook  himself  to  his  heels,  but  was  soon  overhauled,  and,  without  much 
ceremony,  was  suspended  to  the  limb  of  a  tree  by  means  of  one  of  the  halters  designed  for 
the  horses  His  carcass  was  left  hanging  till  it  decayed,  and  dropped  to  the  ground;  while 
the  rope  dangled  from  the  limb  for  several  years.  So  relates  the  venerable  E.  A.  Patterson, 
a  grand-son  of  young  Arthur  Patterson,  who,  while  a  prisoner  on  King's  Mountain,  escaped 


One  of  the  reprieved  Tories,  touched  with  a  sense  of  the 
obhgation  he  was  under  for  sparing  his  Hfe,  and  perhaps 
resolved  tliereafter  to  devote  his  energies  to  the  Whig  cause, 
went  to  Colonel  Shelby  at  two  o'clock  that  night,  and 
made  this  revelation  :  "  You  have  saved  my  life,"  said  he, 
"  and  I  will  tell  you  a  secret.  Tarleton  will  be  here  in  the 
morning — a  woman  has  brought  the  news."  *  No  doubt 
intelligence  came  that  Tarleton  had  been  dispatched  by 
Lord  Cornwallis  with  a  strong  force  lor  the  relief  of  Fergu- 
son,  if  relief  could  be  of  any  service  ;  but  as  to  the  par- 
ticular time  of  his  arrival,  that  was  the  merest  guess- v^'ork, 
and,  with  the  Tories,  the  wish  was  father  to  the  thought. 
But  the  Whig  leaders,  on  receiving  this  information,  deeming 
it  prudent  to  run  no  risk,  but  to  retire  with  their  prisoners  to 
a  place  of  safety,  instantly  aroused  the  camp,  picking  up 
everything,  sending  the  wounded  into  secret  places  in  the 
mountains,  and  making  every  preparation  for  an  early  start 
in  the  morning,  f  They  marched,  according  to  Allaire's 
Diary,  at  the  early  hour  of  five  o'clock,  on  Sunday,  the 
fifteenth  of  October. 

The  poor  Loyalist  leaders  had  been  left  swinging  from 
the  sturdy  oak  upon  which  they  had  been  executed.  No 
sooner  had  the  Whigs  moved  off,  than  Mrs.  Martha  Bicker- 
staff,  or  BiggerstafF,  the  wife  of  Captain  Aaron  Bickerstaff 
who  had  served  under  Ferguson,  and  been  mortally 
wounded  at  King's  Mountain,  with  the  assistance  of  an  old 
man  who  worked  on  the  farm,  cut  down  the  nine  dead 
bodies.  Eight  of  them  were  buried  in  a  shallow  trench, 
some  two  feet  deep  ;  while  the  remains  of  Captain  Chitwood 

during  the  battle;  corroborated  by  the  venerable  Abraham  Hardin.  Colonel  J.  R. 
Logan  communicated  Mr.  Patterson's  tradition  of  the  affair. 

Not  long  after  the  action  at  King's  Mount'iin,  o.  couple  of  Tories  were  caught  ard 
hung  on  an  oak  tree,  near  Sandy  Plains  Baptist  Church,  in  the  edge  of  Cleveland  County, 
some  four  miles  south-east  of  Flint  Hill.  Neither  their  names,  nor  the  crimes  with  which 
they  were  charged,  have  been  preserved.  The  tree  on  which  they  were  executed  is  still 
standing,  and  like  that  at  the  Bickerstaff  Red  Chimneys,  is  known  as  the  Gallows  Oak  ;  it 
has  been  dead  several  years.  This  tradition  has  been  communicated  by  the  aged  father  of 
Daniel  D.  Martin,  of  Rutherford  County,  and  Colonel  J.  R.  Logan. 

*  Shelby's  account  in  American  Review^ 

-{-  Shelby's  account. 


were  conveyed  by  some  of  his  friends,  on  a  plank,  half  a 
mije  away  to  Benjamin  Bickerstaff's,  where  they  were 
interred  on  a  hill  still  used  as  a  grave-yard.  About  1855, 
a  party  of  road-makers  concluded  to  exhume  the  remains 
of  Colonel  Mills  and  his  companions,  as  the  place  of  their 
burial  was  well  known.  The  graves  of  only  four  of  the 
number  were  opened,  the  bones  soon  crumbling  on  expo- 
sure. Several  articles  were  found  in  a  very  good  state  of 
preservation — a  butcher  knife,  a  small  brass  chain  about  five 
inches  in  length,  evident!}'  used  in  attaching  a  powder-horn 
to  a  shot-bag,  a  thumb  lancet,  a  large  musket  flint,  a  goose- 
quill,  with  a  wooden  stopper,  in  which  were  three  or  four 
brass  pins.  These  articles,  save  the  knife,  and  a  portion 
of  the  pins,  are  preserved  by  M.  O.  Dickerson,  Esq.,  of 
Rutherfordton .  * 

Shortly  after  marching  from  Bickerstaff's,  rain  began  to 
fall  in  torrents,  and  it  never  ceased  the  whole  day.  "  In- 
stead of  halting,"  says  Benjamin  Sharp,  "we  rather  mended 
our  pace  in  order  to  cross  the  Catawba  river  before  it  should 
rise  to  intercept  us."  It  was  regarded  as  essential  to  get 
out  of  Tarleton's  reach,  and  hence  the  straining  of  every 
nerve,  and  the  exercise  of  every  self-denial,  to  accomplish 
so  important  an  object.  The  sanguinary  character  of  that 
impetuous  British  cavalry  officer,  and  the  celerity  of  his 
movements,  as  shown  at  Buford's  defeat,  at  Monk's  Corner, 
and  at  Sumter's  surprise  at  Fishing  Creek,  admonished 
the  Whig  leaders  of  the  enemy  they  might  have  to  deal 
with  ;  and  impelled,  on  this  occasion,  by  the  hope  of  rescu- 
ing several  hundred  Bridsh  and  Tory  prisoners  was  very 
naturally  regarded  by  the  patriots  as  a  powerfrd  incentive 
for  Tarleton  to  push  them  to  the  utmost  extremity,  and  play 
cut  and  slash  as  usual — and  hence  the  supposed  necessity 
of  equal  exertions  on  their  part  to  avert  so  great  a  calamity. 
It  is  not  a  little  singular  that,  at  this  very  moment,  Corn- 
wallis    and    Tarleton    were    retreating    from    Charlotte    to 

*MS.  correspondence  of  W.  L,  Twitty  and  Mr   Dickerson. 

346  KING '  S  MO  UN  TAIN 

Winnsboro,  South  Carolina,  with  all  their  might  and  main — 
"  with  much  fatigue,"  saj^s  Lord  Rawdon,"  "occasioned  by 
violent  rains  ;  "  fearing  that  the  "  three  thousand  "  reported 
victorious  mountaineers  were  in  hot  pursuit.  "  It  was 
amusing,'.'  said  one  of  the  King's  Mountain  men,  "when 
we  learned  the  facts,  how  Lord  Cornwallis  was  running  in 
fright  in  one  direction,  and  we  mountaineers  as  eagerly 
fleeing  in  the  other."  * 

In  Allaire's  newspaper  narrative,  we  have  this  account 
- — whether  colored  or  distorted,  we  have  no  means  of 
determining:  "  On  the  morning  of  the  fifteenth,  Colonel 
Campbell  had  intelligence  that  Colonel  Tarleton  was 
approaching  him,  when  he  gave  orders  to  his  men,  that 
should  Tarleton  come  up  with  them,  they  were  immediately 
to  fire  on  Captain  DePeyster  and  his  officers,  who  were  in 
the  front,  and  then  a  second  volley  on  the  men.  During 
this  day's  march,  the  men  were  obliged  to  give  thirty-five 
Continental  dollars  for  a  single  ear  of  Indian  corn,  and  forty 
for  a  drink  of  water,  they  not  being  allowed  to  drink  when 
fording  a  river ;  in  short,  the  whole  of  the  Rebels'  conduct 
from  the  surrender  of  the  party  into  their  hands,  is  incredible 
to  relate.  Several  of  the  militia  that  were  worn  out  with 
fatigue,  not  being  able  to  keep  up,  were  cut  down  and 
trodden  to  death  in  the  mire." 

It  was  about  ten  o'clock  at  night,  according  to  Allaire's 
Diary ^  and  as  late  as  two  o'clock,  according  to  Shelby,  when 
the  wearied  troops  and  prisoners  reached  the  Catawba,  at 
the  Island  Ford,  where  the  river  was  breast  deep  as  they 
forded  it.  They  bivouacked  on  the  western  bank  of  the 
river  at  the  Quaker  Meadows — the  home  of  Major  Mc- 
Dowell. "A  distance  of  thirty-two  miles,"  says  Allaire, 
"  was  accomplished  this  day  over  a  very  disagreeable  road, 
all  the  men  worn  out  with  fatigue  and  fasting,  the  prisoners 
having  had  no  bread  nor  meat  for  two  days" — and,  appar- 
ently, not  even  raw  corn  or  pumpkins.    Nor  had  the  Whigs 

*MS.  Notes  of  conversations  with  Silas  McBee,  in  1842. 

S,^  i  T^y  M^£y^!. 


fared  any  better,  judging  from  the  statement  in  the 
American  Review,  dictated  by  Colonel  Shelb}^ :  "As  an 
evidence  of  the  hardships  undergone  by  these  brave  and 
hardy  patriots,  Colonel  Shelby  says  that  he  ate  nothing 
from  Saturday  morning  until  after  they  encamped  Sunday 
night — [or  rather  Monday  morning] — at  two  o'clock." 
Benjamin  Sharp  throws  additional  light  on  the  privations 
of  the  patriots:  "During  the  whole  of  this  expedition," 
he  states,  "  except  a  few  days  at  our  outset,  I  neither  tasted 
bread  nor  salt,  and  this  was  the  case  with  nearly  every  man  ; 
when  we  could  get  meat,  which  was  but  seldom,  we  had  to 
roast  and  eat  it  without  either ;  sometimes  we  got  a  few 
potatoes,  but  our  standing  and  principal  rations  were  ears 
of  corn,  scorched  in  the  fire  or  eaten  raw.  Such  was 
the  price  paid  by  the  men  of  the  Revolution  for  our 

Here,  at  McDowell's,  some  provisions  were  obtained — 
not  much  of  a  variety,  but  such  as  satisfied  half-starved 
men  ;  nor  did  they' seek  rest  until  they  had  dried  themselves 
by  their,  camp  fires,  and  enjoyed  their  simple  repast. 
"  Major  McDowell,"  says  Sharp,  "  rode  along  the  lines, 
and  informed  us  that  the  plantation  belonged  to  him,  and 
kindly  invited  us  to  take  rails  from  his  fences,  and  make 
fires  to  warm  and  dry  us.  I  suppose  that  every  one  felt 
grateful  for  this  generous  offer ;  for  it  was  rather  cold,  it 
being  the  last  of  October,  and  every  one,  from  the  Com- 
mander-in-chief to  the  meanest  private,  was  as  wet  as  if  he 
had  just  been  dragged  through  the  Catawba  river." 

It  is  evident  from  Allaire's  Diary,  that  when  it  was  pos- 
sible, courtesies  were  extended  to  the  British  officers — even 
when  the  Whig  patriots  themselves  were  camping  out  on 
the  ground.  "  We  officers,"  he  says,  "  were  allowed  to  go 
to  Colonel  McDowell's,  where  we  lodged  comfortably."  A 
litde  incident  transpired  on  this  occasion  which  the  good 
Lieutenant  did  not  care,  perhaps,  to  record  in  his  Diary. 
Some  of  these  very  same  officers  had  visited  the  residence 


of  the  McDowell's,  under  very  different  circumstances,  the 
preceding  month,  when  Ferguson  had  invaded  the  Upper 
Catawba  Valley,  and  when  the  two  brothers,  Colonel 
Charles  and  Major  Joseph  McDowell,  had  retired  with  their 
little  band  across  the  mountains.  Their  widowed  mother 
was  the  presiding  hostess  of  the  old  homestead  at  the 
Quaker  Meadows  ;  she  was  a  woman  of  uncommon  energy 
and  fearlessness  of  character — a  native  of  the  Emerald  Isle. 
She  possessed  a  nice  perception  of  right  and  wrong ;  and, 
withal,  was  not  wanting  in  her  share  of  quick  temper 
peculiar  to  her  people. 

Some  of  these  visitors,  having  ransacked  the  house  for 
spoils,  very  coolly  appropriated,  among  other  things,  the 
best  articles  of  clothing  of  her  two  noted  Rebel  sons  ;  and 
took  the  occasion  to  tantalize  the  aged  mother  with  what 
would  be  the  fate  of  her  boys  when  they  should  catch  them. 
Charles  should  be  killed  out-right,  but  as  for  Joe,  they 
would  first  compel  him,  by  way  of  humiliation,  to  plead  on 
his  knees  for  his  life,  and  then  would  slay  him  without 
mercy.  But  these  threats  did  not  in  the  least  intimidate 
Mrs.  McDowell ;  but  she  talked  back  at  them  in  her  quaint, 
effective  Irish  style,  intimating  that  in  the  whirligigs  of  life, 
they  might,  sooner  or  later,  have  a  little  begging  to  do  for 
themselves.  The  changed  circumstances  had  been  brought 
about  in  one  short  month,  quite  as  much,  perhaps,  to  the 
surprise  of  the  good  old  lady,  as  to  the  proud  officers  of 
Ferguson's  Rangers.  Now  they  appeared  again,  wet, 
weary,  and  hungry  ;  but  Mrs.  McDowell  readily  recognized 
them,  and  it  required  not  a  little  kind  persuasion  on  the 
part  of  Major  McDowell  to  induce  his  mother  to  give  those 
"  thieving  vagabond  Tories,"  as  she  termed  them,  shelter, 
food,  and  nourishment.  But  the  appeals  of  her  filial  son,  of 
whom  she  was  justly  proud,  coupled  with  the  silent  plea  of 
human  beings  in  their  needy,  destitute  condition,  prevailed  ; 
and  in  her  Christian  charitjr,  she  returned  good  for  evil.* 

*  Related  by'the  lady  of  Ex-Governor  Lewis  E.  Parsons,  of  Alabama,  who  derived  it  from 
her  mother,  a  daughter  of  Major  Joseph  McDowell,  of  Quaker  Meadows. 


It  was  fortunate  for  the  mountaineers  that  the}^  had  suc- 
ceeded in  crossing  the  Catawba  so  opportunely,  for  the  next 
morning  they  found  it  had  risen  so  much  as  to  be  past 
fording.  This  obstacle  would  naturally  prevent,  for  some 
time,  all  pursuit,  if  indeed  any  had  been  made.  It  was 
now  arranged  that  Colonel  Lacey's  men*  should  be  per- 
mitted to  return  to  South  Carolina,  while  most  of  Shelby's 
and  Sevier's  regiments,  with  the  footmen  of  the  Virginians, 
should  take  their  home  trail  across  the  mountains.  The 
mounted  men  of  Campbell's  regiment,  with  the  Wilkes  and 
Surry  troops  under  Cleveland  and  Winston,  and  perhaps 
McDowell's  party,  together  with  a  few  of  Sevier's  and 
Shelby's  young  men  who  preferred  to  remain  in  the  service, 
and  who  had  incorporated  themselves  into  McDowell's 
corps,  now  constituted  the  escort  for  the  prisoners.  Shelby 
states,  that  after  the  several  corps  had  retired  at  the  Catawba, 
there  remained  not  more  Whigs  than  they  had  prisoners  to 
guard — about  five  or  six  hundred. 

The  wounded  Americans,  who  had  been  hid  away  in  the 
mountains  when  the  troops  marched  so  hurriedly  from 
Bickerstaff 's,  were  soon  brought  forward  ;  and  mau}^  of  them 
were  left  in  Burke  County,  eight  or  ten  miles  above  Burke 
Court  House,  where  Doctor  Dobson,  of  that  neighborhood, 
had  eighteen  of  them  under  his  care  at  one  time ;  four  of 
whom  were  Wilkes  and  Surry  County  officers  billeted  at 
a  Mr.  Mackey"s.  \ 

After  a  needful  rest,  and  the  return  of  fair  weather,  the 
patriots  proceeded  at  two  o'clock  on  Monday  afternoon, 
October  sixteenth,  directing  their  course,  by  easy  marches, 
to  the  head  of  the  Yadkin,  and  down  the  valley  of  that 
stream.  Fording  Upper  creek,  or  the  North  branch  of 
the  Catawba,  and  John's  river,  they  encamped  that  night  at 
a  Tory  plantation,  not  very  far  beyond  the  latter  stream. 

While  on  the  hurried  and  toilsome  march  from  Bicker- 

*  Pension  statements  of  William  White  of  Lacey's  regiment,  and  William  Alexander 
of  Campbell's  men. 

f  Lieutenant  Newell's  statement,  1823. 


staff's  to  the  Catawba,  and  especially  during  se\'eral  hours  of 
the  evening,  amid  rain  and  mud,  it  proved  a  favorable  oppor- 
tunity for  many  of  the  prisoners  to  give  their  guards  the  slip, 
and  effect  their  escape.  Allaire  says  the  number  reached  a 
hundred.  To  put  a  stop  to  these  numerous  desertions,  the 
Whig  leaders  promulgated  severe  admonitions  of  the  con- 
sequences of  any  further  attempts  in  that  direction  ;  but 
thejr  did  not  effectually  restrain  the  daring  and  adventurous. 
Having  marched  fifteen  miles  during  Tuesday,  passing 
through  Happy  Valley  and  over  Warrior  Mountain,  the 
troops,  with  their  prisoners,  camped  that  evening  at  Captain 
Hatt's  plantation,  not  very  far  from  Fort  Defiance  ;  and, 
during  the  night,  three  of  the  prisoners  attempted  to  evade 
their  guards,  two  of  them  succeeding,  while  the  other  was 
shot  through  the  bod}^,  retaken,  and  executed  at  five  o'clock 
on  the  following  morning.  * 

During  Wednesday,  the  eighteenth,  the  troops  forded 
Elk  and  Warrior  creeks,  camping  that  night  on  the  west- 
ern bank  of  Moravian  creek,  a  short  distance  west  of 
Wilkes  Court  House,  having  accomplished  eighteen  miles ; 
and  passing  the  next  day  through  the  Old  Mulberry  Fields, 
or  Wilkes  Court  House,  they  took  up  their  camp  at 
Hagoods'  plantation,  on  Brier  creek,  having  marched  six- 
teen miles  this  day.  While  in  camp,  on  Brier  creek, 
Colonel  Campbell  appears  to  have  discharged  some  of  his 
Virginians,  for  he  wrote  a  letter  on  the  twentieth,  to  his 
brother-in-law.  Colonel  Arthur  Campbell,  giving  him  a 
brief  account  of  the  battle,  but  was  uncertain  as  yet  what 
disposition  would  be  made  of  the  prisoners.  Taking  a  late 
start  on  Frida}^,  six  miles  only  were  accomplished,  camping 
that  night  at  Sales'  plantation.  Proceeding  by  slow 
marches,  they  passed  Salem,  arriving  at  Bethabara,  or  Old 
Town,  on  the  twent3r-fourth — both  Moravian  villages — 
whose  people,  according  to  Allaire,  were  stanch  friends 
of  the  King,  and  were  very  kind  to  all  the  prisoners. 

*  Allaire's  MS.  Diary.     Capt.  Hatt  may  possibly  be  designed  for  Capt.  Holt  or  Hall. 


The  very  first  night  the  British  officers  had  been 
assigned  quarters  at  Bethabara,  Lieutenant  AUaire  and 
Doctor  Johnson,  who  were  rooming  togetlier,  were  driven 
fi-om  their  bed  by  a  violent  Wliig  Captain  named  Campbell, 
who,  with  drawn  sword,  threatened  them  with  death  if  they 
did  not  instantly  obey  him.  Colonel  Campbell  was  notified 
of  this  rudeness,  who  had  the  unseasonable  intruder  turned 
out  of  the  room  ;  *  and  this  is  but  another  instance  of  his 
sense  of  justice  towards  helpless  prisoners. 

Among  the  Tory  captives,  was  a  notorious  desperado 
named  Bob  Powell.  He  was  a  man  of  unusual  size,  strong, 
supple,  and  powerful.  He  boasted  of  his  superior  ability 
and  agility  to  out-hop,  out-jump,  out-wrestle,  or  out-fight 
any  Whig  in  the  army.  He  seemed  to  possess  a  happier 
facultj'  of  getting  into  scrapes,  than  in  getting  out.  Chained 
with  two  accomplices  for  some  bad  conduct,  he  sent  word 
one  morning  that  he  wanted  to  see  Colonels  Campbell, 
Shelby  and  Cleveland,  on  a  matter  of  importance.  When 
waited  on  by  those  officers,  he  seemed  to  think  that  the 
proposition  he  was  about  to  submit  was  a  matter  of  no  small 
consideration — no  less  than  a  challenge  to  wresde  or  fight 
with  the  best  man  they  could  produce  from  their  army, 
conditioned  that,  should  he  prove  victor,  his  freedom  should 
be  his  reward  ;  should  he  fail,  he  would  regard  his  life  as 
forfeited,  and  they  might  hang  him.  Though  a  couple  of 
guineas  were  offered  to  any  man  who  would  successfully 
meet  him — probably  more  with  a  view  of  an  exhibition  of 
the  "  manly  art,"  as  then  regarded  by  the  frontier  people, 
yet  no  one  saw  fit  to  engage  in  the  offered  contest.  Under 
the  circumstances,  all  knew  full  well  that  Powell  would 
fight  with  the  desperadon  of  a  lion  at  bay ;  and  none  cared 
to  run  the  risk  of  encountering  a  man  of  his  herculean  pro- 
portions, with  the  stake  of  freedom  to  sdmulate  his  efforts. f 

It   w^as    apparently  while  at  Bethabara,  that  Colonels 

*  Allaire's  MS    Diary,  and  his  newspaper  narrative. 

■fMS.  notes  of  conversation  with  John  Spelts,  an  eye-witness. 


Campbell,  Shelby,  and  Cleveland  made  out  their  official 
report  of  King's  Mountain  battle.  Had  it  been  prepared 
before  Colonels  Lacey  and  Sevier  had  retired  at  the  Quaker 
Meadows,  the  names  of  those  two  officers  would  doubtless 
have  been  attached  to  it  also.*  Colonel  Shelby  accom- 
panied the  troops  to  Bethabara.  He  had  been  deputed 
to  visit  General  Gates  at  Hillsboro,  to  tender  the  services 
of  a  corps  of  mountaineers,  mostly  refugees,  under  Major 
McDowell,  to  serve  under  General  Morgan.  Colonel 
Campbell  also  had  occasion  to  repair  to  head-quarters  to 
make  arrangements  for  the  disposition  of  the  prisoners. 

On  the  twenty-sixth  of  October,  Colonel  Campbell  issued 
a  General  Order,  appointing  Colonel  Cleveland  to  the 
command  of  the  troops  and  prisoners  until  his  expected 
return,  especially  providing  that  full  rations  be  issued  to  the 
prisoners  ;  adding,  "it  is  to  be  hoped,  no  insult  or  violence 
unmerited  will  be  offered  them  ;  no  uimecessary  injury  be 
done  to  the  inhabitants,  nor  any  liquor  be  sold  or  issued  to 
the  troops  without  an  order  from  the  commanding  officer."  f 
Here  we  have  additional  evidence,  if  any  were  needed, 
of  Campbell's  humanity  and  good  sense. 

Colonels  Campbell  and  Shelby  had  scarcely  departed, 
when  new  troubles  arose  in  the  treatment  of  the  prisoners. 
Allaire  tells  us,  that  one  of  the  Whig  soldiers  was  passing 
the  guard,  where  the  captives  were  confined,  when  he  rudely 
accosted  them:  "  Ah !  d — n  j^ou,  you'll  all  be  hanged!" 
One  of  the  prisoners  retorted — "  Never  mind  that,  it  will  be 
your  turn  next !  "     For  this  trifling  offence,  the  poor  fellow 

*  Doctor  Ramsey,  in  his  History  of  Tennessee,  states  that  the  three  Colonels  visited 
Hillsboro,  and  there  made  out  their  report.  Colonel  Cleveland  did  not  go  there  on  that 
occasion,  having  been  left  in  command  at  Bethabara.  His  name  was  signed  to  the  report 
by  himself,  and  not  by  another  as  a  comparison  of  his  genuine  autograph  with  the/ic- 
j-jw;/?  signature  to  the  report  conclusively  shows.  Perhaps  as  a  compliment,  Colonel  Cleve- 
land was  permitted  to  head  the  list,  in  signing  the  report,  as  shown  in  facsimile  in 
Lossing  s  Field  Book  of  the  Revolution  ;  but  when  General  Gates  sent  a  copy,  November  i, 
1780,  to  Governor  Jefferson,  to  forward  to  Congres.s,  he  very  properly  placed  Campbell's 
name  first,  Shelby's  next,  and  Cleveland's  last — and  so  they  appear  as  published  in  the 
gazettes  at  the  time  by  order  of  Congress. 

fMS.  order,  preserved  by  General  Preston. 


was  tried  before  Colonel  Cleveland,  and  condemned  to  be 
hung.  Qiiite  a  number  of  people  gathered  at  Bethabara  to 
witness  the  execution  of  the  unfortunate  man  ;  "  but,"  adds 
Allaire,  "Colonel  Cleveland's  goodness  extended  so  far  as 
to  reprieve  him." 

About  this  time,  Captain  William  Green  and  Lieutenant 
William  Langum,  among  the  Tory  prisoners,  were  tried 
before  Colonel  Cleveland.  The  charge  ai^ainst  Green 
seems  to  have  been,  that  he  had  violated  the  oath  he  had 
taken  as  an  officer  to  support  the  governments  of  the  State 
of  North  Carolina  and  of  the  United  States,  by  accepting  a 
British  commission,  and  lighting  at  King's  Mountain.  Some 
of  the  British  officers  were  present,  and  remonstrated  at  the 
course  taken,  when  Cleveland  cut  them  short,  saying  : 
"Gentlemen,  you  are  British  officers,  and  shall  be  treated 
accordingly — therefore  give  your  paroles  and  march  off 
immediately  ;  the  other  person  is  a  subject  of  the  State.''  * 
Green  and  Langum  were  condemned  to  be  executed  the 
next  morning.     "  May  be  so,"  coolly  remarked  Green. 

That  night,  as  he  and  his  comrade,  Langum,  were  lying 
before  the  camp-fire,  under  a  blanket.  Green  rolled  over  so 
that  his  hands,  fastened  with  buck-skin  straps,  came  in  con- 
tact with  Langum 's  face,  who  seeming  to  comprehend  his 
companion's  intention,  worked  away  with  his  teeth  till  he 
succeeded  in  unfastening  the  knot.  Green  was  now  able 
to  reach  his  pocket,  containing  a  knife,  with  which  he 
severed  the  remaining  cords,  and  those  of  Langum.  He 
then  whispered  to  Langum  to  be  ready  to  jump  up  and  run 
when  he  should  set  the  example.  Green  was  above  the 
ordinary  size,  strong  and  athletic.  The  guard  who  had 
special  watch  of  them,  was  in  a  sitting  posture,  with  his 
head  resting  upon  his  knees,  and  had  fallen  asleep.  Mak- 
nig  a  sudden  leap,  Green  knocked  the  sentinel  over,  and 
tried  to  snatch  his  gun  from  him  ;  but  the  latter  caught  the 
skirt  of  the  fleeing  man's  coat,  and  Green  had  to  make  a 

*  Gordon's  American  Revolution^  iii,  pp.  466-67. 

354  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

second  efibrt  before  he  could  release  himself  from  the  sol- 
dier's grasp,  and  gladlj^  got  off  with  the  loss  of  a  part  of  his 
garment.  In  another  moment  both  Green  and  Langum 
were  dashing  down  a  declivity,  and  though  several  shots 
were  fired  at  them,  they  escaped  unhurt,  and  were  soon 
beyond  the  reach  of  their  pursuers.  Aided  by  the  friendly 
wilderness,  and  sympathizing  Loyalists,  they  in  time  reached 
their  old  region  of  Buffalo  creek,  in  now  Cleveland  County, 
Green  at  least  renouncing  his  brief,  sad  experience  in  the 
Torv  service,  joined  the  Whigs,  and  battled  manfully  there- 
after for  his  country.  Both  Green  and  Langum  long  sur- 
vived the  war,  and  were  very  worthy  people.  * 

Allaire  records  an  incident,  involving,  if  correctly  reported, 
rash  treatment  on  the  part  of  Colonel  Cleveland  towards 
Doctor  Johnson,  whose  benevolent  acts,  it  would  be  sup- 
posed, would  have  commanded  the  respectful  attention  of  all : 
'•November  the  first,"  writes  Lieutenant  Allaire,  "  Doctor 
Johnson  was  insulted  and  knocked  down  by  Colonel  Cleve- 
land, for  attempting  to  dress  the  wounds  of  a  man  whom 
the  Rebels  had  cut  on  the  march.  The  Rebel  officers 
would  often  go  in  amongst  the  prisoners,  draw  their  swords, 
cut  and  wound  whom  their  wicked  and  savage  minds 
prompted."  f  There  must  have  been  something  unex- 
plained in  Doctor  Johnson's  conduct — the  motive  is  wanting 
for  an  act  so  unofficer-like  as  that  imputed  to  Colonel  Cleve- 
land. While  it  is  conceded  that  he  was  a  rough  frontier 
man,  and  particularly  inimical  to  thieving  and  murderous 
Tories,  yet  he  was  kind-hearted,  and  his  sympathies 
as  responsive  to  misfortune  as  those  of  the  tenderest 
woman.  The  same  day.  Colonel  Cleveland  was  relieved 
of  his  command  by  Colonel  Martin  Armstrong,  his  superior 

*  MS.  Deposition  of  Colonel  Wm.  Porter,  1814.  kindly  communicated  by  Hon.  W.  P. 
Bynum  ;  MS.  letters  of  Jonathan  Hampton  and  Colonel  J  R.  Logan,  the  latter  giving  the 
recollections  of  the  venerable  James  Blanton,  now  eighty-two  years  of  age,  who  was  well 
acquainted  with  both  Green  and  Langum;  statements  of  Benjamin  BiggerstafF  and  J.  W. 
Green,  furnished  by  W.  L.  Twitty,  Some  of  the  traditions  represent  Langums  name  as 

t  Allaire's  MS.  Diary,  and  his  newspaper  narrative. 


in  rank,  as  well  as  the  local  commandant  of  Surry  County, 
where  the  troops  and  prisoners  then  were. 

The  British  officers  had  been  expecting  to  be  paroled. 
Colonel  Cleveland's  remark  to  them,  at  Green's  trial,  would 
seem  to  indicate  the  early  anticipation  of  such  an  event. 
"  After  we  were  in  the  Moravian  town  about  a  fortnight, " 
says  Allaire,  "  we  were  told  we  could  not  get  paroles  to 
return  within  the  British  lines  ;  neither  were  we  to  have  any 
till  we  were  moved  over  the  mountains  in  the  back  parts  of 
Virginia,  where  we  were  to  live  on  hoe-cake  and  milk." 
Large  liberties  had  been  accorded  the  officers,  to  enable 
them  to  while  away  the  tedium  of  captivity :  so  that  they 
sometimes  visited  the  neighboring  Moravian  settlements,  or 
dined  at  their  friends,  in  the  country. 

When  Lieutenants  Taylor,  Stevenson,  and  Allaire 
learned  that  there  was  no  immediate  prospect  of  their 
receiving  paroles,  they  concluded  that  they  would  "  rather 
trust  the  hand  of  fate,"  as  Allaire  states  it  in  his  narrative, 
and  make  a  desperate  effort  to  reach  their  friends — taking 
French  leave  of  their  American  captors.  Accordingly,  on 
Sunday  evening,  about  six  o'clock,  the  fifth  of  November, 
they  quietly  decamped,  taking  Captain  William  Gist,  of  the 
South  Carolina  Loj^alists,  with  them ;  traveling  fifteen 
miles  that  night  to  the  Yadkin,  the  fording  of  which  they 
found  very  disagreeable,  and  pushed  on  twenty  miles 
farther  before  daylight.  Though  pursued,  the  Whigs  were 
misled  by  false  intelligence  from  Tory  sources,  and  soon 
gave  up  the  chase. 

Traveling  by  night,  and  resting  by  day ;  sometimes 
sleeping  in  fodder-houses,  oftener  in  the  woods ;  with 
snatches  of  food  at  times — hoe-cake  and  dried  beef  on  one 
occasion — supplied  by  sympathizing  friends  bj'  the  way; 
encountering  cold  rain  storms,  and  fording  streams  ;  guided 
some  of  the  weary  journey  by  Loyalist  pilots,  and  sometimes 
following  such  directions  as  they  could  get ;  passing  over  the 
Brushy  Mountain,  crossing  the  Upper  Catawba,  thence  over 


the  country  to  Camp's  Ford  of  second  Broad  river,  the 
Island  Ford  of  Main  Broad,  and  the  old  Iron  Works 
of  Pacolet ;  barely  escaping  Sumter's  corps  at  Black- 
stock's  on  Tyger,  they  at  length  reached  Ninety  Six,  the 
eighteenth  day  after  taking  their  leave  of  Bethabara, 
traveling,  as  they  accounted  distance,  three  hundred  miles. 
These  resolute  adventurers  suffered  unspeakable  fatigues 
and  privations,  but  successfully  accomplished  the  object  of 
all  their  toils  and  self-denials.  After  resting  a  day  at  Ninety 
Six,  they  pursued  their  journey  to  Charleston. 



October— December,  1780. 

Disposition  of  King  s  Mountain  Prisoners. — Proposition  to  Enlist  them. 
— Needed  for  Exchange. —  Congress  Refers  the  Matter  to  the  States 
where  the  Prisoners  Belong. — How  they  Dwindled  Away. —  Colonel 
Ar^nstroJig  Blamed. — Remnant  Confined  at  Salisbury. — DePeyster 
and  Ryerson  Paroled. — A  Plucky  Band  of  Whigs  Scare  a  large 
Tory  Party. —  Tarleton  Frustrates  Cornwallis'  Design  of  Relieving 
Ferguson. — Intercepting  Ferguson's  Messengers. —  Tarleton  at 
Length  in  Motion. — His  Instructiojzs. — Effect  of  King's  Mountain 
Victory. — Ewin  and  Barry  Alarm  the  Neutrals,  and  they  Alarm 
Cornwallis. —  Crowing  of  David  Knox. —  Cornwallis  flees  to  South 
Carolina,  with  the  Imaginary  Mountaineers  in  Pursuit. — A  Tricky 
Guide  Misleading  the  Retiring  Troops. — A  Panic. — Illness  of  Corn- 
wallis.— Sickness  and  Fatality  among  the  Troops. — Privations  and 
Sufferings  of  the  Retrograders. — Aid  Rendered  by  the  Tories.— 
Ninety  Six  Safe. —  Cornwallis  Threatens  Retaliation  for  Execution 
of  King's  Mountain  Prisoiiers. — Gates  and  Randall  on  the  Situa- 
tio7i. —  The  Question  Met  by  General  Greene. —  Cornwallis  Drops  the 
Matter. —  Case  of  Adam  Cusack. —  The  Widows  and  Orphans  of 
Ninety  Six  District. — Good  Words  for  King' s  Mountain  Victory. — 
Gates  Thanks  the  Victors. —  Washington  Takes  Courage. — Resolves 
of  Congress. — Greene  and  Lee  Commend  the  Mountaineers. — Lossing, 
Bancroft,  and  Irving  on  the  Result. —  The  British  Leaders  Recognize 
the  Disastrous  Effects  of  Ferguson's  Miscarriage. —  Gates  and  fef- 
ferson's  Encomiums. — King's  Mountain  Paves  the  Way  for  York- 
town  and  Independence. 

General  Gates,  on  the  twelfth  of  October,  at  Hillsboro, 
received  the  joyous  intelligence  of  the  victory  of  King's 
Mountain ;  and  wrote  the  next  day  to  Colonel  William 
Preston,  near  Fort  Chiswell,  or  the  Lead  Mines,  in  the 
Virginia  Valley,  appointing  him  to  prepare  barracks  or 
other  works  for  the  reception  of  the  prisoners,  and  to  take 
the  superintendency  of  them,  believing  that  locality  a  safe 


quarter,  and  where  the  necessar}'  supplies  could  be  obtained 
for  their  support.  Colonel  Preston  assured  General  Gates 
that  the  Lead  Mines  would  be  an  unsafe  place  for  the  pris- 
oners, as  there  were  more  Tories  in  that  County,  Montgom- 
ery, than  any  other  known  to  him  in  Virginia  ;  he  urged, 
besides,  the  further  objection  of  its  proximity  to  Surry  and 
other  disaffected  regions  in  North  Carolina,  and  the  inimi- 
cal Cherokees  to  the  south-west.  He,  therefore,  suggested 
the  County  of  Botetourt,  higher  up  the  Valley,  as  more 
suitable,  and  William  Madison  as  a  proper  and  younger 
person  to  undertake  the  service.* 

It  would  seem  that  General  Gates  balanced  between  two 
modes  of  disposing  of  the  prisoners — one,  to  place  them 
where  they  would  be  secure  from  rescue,  "  to  be  ready  for 
exchange  for  our  valuable  citizens  in  the  enem3''s  hands;" 
the  other,  a  suggestion  of  Colonel  Campbell,  to  send  them 
to  the  North,  and  incorporate  them  with  the  army  under 
General  Washington.  Colonel  Campbell  was  the  bearer 
of  General  Gates'  dispatches  on  the  subject  to  Governor 
Jefferson,  at  Richmond,  who  finally  referred  the  whole 
matter  to  Congress. f  That  body,  on  the  twentieth  of  Nov- 
ember, recommended  to  Governor  Jefferson  to  cause  the 
King's  Mountain  prisoners  to  be  secured  in  such  manner 
and  places  as  he  might  judge  proper :  "  That  a  list  of  the 
names  of  the  Tory  prisoners  be  taken,  distinguishing  the 
States,  County  or  District  to  which  they  severally  belong, 
and  transmitted  to  the  Executives  of  their  several  States, 
who  ai-e  requested  to  take  such  order  respecting  them  as  the 
public  security,  and  the  laws  of  the  respective  States  may 
require."  | 

But  various  circumstances  combined  to  render  all  such 
arrangements  of  no  avail.  Starting  from  King's  Mountain 
with    not    to    exceed    six  hundred  prisoners,    thej^   rapidly 

*MS.  letter  of  Gates  to  Preston,  October  13,  and  of  Preston  to  Gates,  October  27,  1780; 
Jefferson's  Works,  i,  273, 

fMS.  letter  of  Linnaeus  Smith  to  General  Francis  Preston,  July  19,  1823. 
J  Journals  of  Congress,  1780,  vi,  374. 


dwindled  away  ;  the  paroles  of  some  of  them  commenced 
the  second  day  after  the  battle  ;  *  one  hundred,  Allaire  tells 
us,  escaped  during  the  march  the  stormy  day,  and  part 
of  the  night,  before  reaching  the  Qiiaker  Meadows  ;  half  a 
dozen  at  another  time  ;  Allaire  and  three  associates  escaping 
as  already  related,  and  sdll  later  sixteen  soldiers  succeeded 
in  getting  away  from  the  guard  at  Bethabara,  f  while 
doubtless  many  others  evaded  the  vigilance  of  their  guards 
of  which  we  have  no  record.  According  to  the  Mora\ian 
accounts,  there  were  never  more  than  three  hundred  prison- 
ers at  Bethabara,  fifty  of  whom  were  of  Ferguson's 
Provincial  corps,  and  five  hundred  Whigs  to  guard  them, 
w^ho  remained  at  that  place  nineteen  days,  till  all  the 
provisions  were  consumed.  \  Prior  to  the  seventh  of 
November,  one  hundred  and  eighty-eight,  who  were  inhabit- 
ants of  the  western  country  of  North  Carolina,  were  taken 
out  of  Colonel  Armstrong's  charge  by  the  civil  authorities, 
and  bound  over,  §  inferentially  for  their  appearance  at  court, 
or  for  their  good  behavior ;  some  were  dismissed,  some 
paroled,  but  most  of  them  enlisted — some  in  the  three 
months'  militia  service,  others  in  the  North  Carolina 
Continentals,  and  others  still  in  the  ten  months'  men  under 
Sumter.  So  evident  was  it  to  General  Gates,  that  neither 
the  military  nor  civil  officers  of  North  Carolina  had  any 
authority  over  these  prisoners,  many  of  whom  had  been 
almost  constantly  in  arms  against  their  country  since  the 
surrender  of  Charleston,  that  he  remonstrated  with  the 
State  Board  of  War  at  Salisbury  ;  and  Colonel  Armstrong 
was  made  to  answer  for  the  injury  thus  done  to  the 
American  cause.  The  remaining  prisoners  were  then 
marched  under  a  strong  guard  to  Hillsboro.  || 

'■=  MS.  parole  of  Dennis  McDuff  by  Captain  George  Ledbetter,  October  9th,  1780, 
preserved  by  Hon.  W.  P.  Bynum. 

f  Colonel  Armstrong  to  Gen.  Gates,  November  nth,  1780,  among  the  Gates  Papers  in 
the  New  York  Historical  Society, 

J  Reichel's  Moravians  in  North  Carolina,  pp.  92-93. 

g  Colonel  Armstrong  to  Gen.  Gates,  November  7th  and  nth,  1780. 

H  Burk's  History  0/  Virginia,  iv,  410. 

360  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

Including  the  Provincials,  only  about  one  hundred  and 
thirty  captives  remained ;  and  General  Greene,  when  he 
took  the  command  of  the  Southern  department,  early  in 
December,  lamented  the  loss  of  so  many  of  the  King's 
Mountain  prisoners,  who,  had  they  been  retained,  would 
have  been  the  means  of  restoring  to  the  service  many  a  noble 
soldier  languishing  in  British  prisons  ;  nor  was  he  without 
suspicions  of  something  more  than  folly  on  the  part  of  those 
who  had  taken  such  liberties  to  dispose  of  them.  *  The 
jail  and  a  log  house  near  it,  at  Salisbury,  were  ordered  by 
General  Greene  to  be  picketed  in,  for  the  reception  of  the 
remaining  prisoners,  who  were  directed  to  erect  huts  within 
the  pickets,  f  for  their  use  as  cooking  and  sleeping  apart- 
ments. "  The  North  Carolina  government,"  wrote  Colonel 
Henry  Lee  to  General  Wayne,  January  seventh,  i"78i, 
"has  in  a  great  degree  bafHed  the  fruits  of  that  victory. 
The  Tories  captured  were  enlisted  into  the  militia  or  draft 
service,  and  have  all  rejoined  the  British  ;  I  heard  General 
Greene  say,  j^esterday,  that  his  last  return  made  out  sixty  in 
jail,  and  his  intelligence  from  the  enemy  declares  that  two 
hundred  of  them  were  actually  in  arms  against  us.'' J  In 
February  ensuing,  Captains  DePeyster  and  Ryerson  were 
paroled  to  Charleston,  and  found  on  their  arrival  that  they 
were  already  exchanged.  § 

A  singular  incident  occurred,  in  connection  with  the 
King's  Mountain  campaign,  that  shows  what,  with  pluck 
and  bravery,  a  few  fearless  men  may  accomplish.  Fergu- 
son, it  will  be  remembered,  had  foraging,  and  perhaps 
recruiting,  parties  out — under  Colonel  John  Moore,  Major 
Zachariah  Gibbs,  and,  very  likely,  others.  One  of  these 
parties,  estimated  at  above  two  hundred  and  fifty,  though 
probably  not  so  numerous,  encamped  a  night  or  two  pre- 

'■■  Greene  to  Washington,  December  7th,  1780. 
•f  Greene's  Life  of  Greene^  iii,  pp.  78-79. 

\  Life  of  Gen,  Henry  Lee,  by  R,   E.  Lee,  perfixed  to  Lee's  Memoirs,  revised  edition, 
1872,  p.  33, 

g  Captain  Ryerson's  statement  in  the   Royal  Gazette,  Charleston,  October  27th,  1781. 


ceding  the  battle,  at  a  school-house,  near  Holhngsworth's 
mill,  on  Brown's  creek,  in  now  Union  County,  South 
CaroHna,  some  twenty-five  miles  south  of  King's  Mountain. 
Their  camp  was  on  a  high  hill,  thickly  covered  with  timber. 

A  small  party  of  eight  or  ten  Whigs,  who  were  lurking 
about  the  thickets  along  Brown's  creek,  with  a  view  of 
gaining  intelligence  concerning  both  friends  and  foes, 
chanced  to  capture  a  solitary  Tory,  from  whom  they 
learned  of  the  design  of  this  large  party  of  foragers  to  biv- 
ouac that  night  at  the  school-house  near  Hollingsworth's. 
Ready  for  adventure,  the  plucky  Whigs,  though  so  few  in 
nuinber  compared  with  their  adversaries,  thought  the}'  might 
gain  by  strategy  what  they  could  not  accomplish  by  main 
strength  ;  and  concluded  to  make  an  effort  to  give  the  Tory 
camp,  at  least,  a  first-rate  scare.  They  accordingly  arranged 
their  plan  of  proceedings,  which  was  natural  and  simple. 
Some  time  after  dark  they  approached  the  enemy's  camp — 
spread  themselves  in  open  order,  around  the  hill,  at  some 
distance  from  each  other,  with  the  understanding  that  they 
would  advance  till  hailed  by  the  sentinels,  then  lie  down  till 
the  guards  fired,  when  they  would  arise  and  rush  towards 
the  camp,  firing  and  shouting  as  best  they  could. 

They  moved  forward  with  great  caution.  The  Tory 
camp-fires  threw  a  glaring  light  towards  the  canopy  of 
heaven,  and  lit  up  the  forest  far  and  near.  All  was  joy  and 
gladness  in  the  camp.  The  jovial  song,  and  merry  laugh, 
indicated  to  the  approaching  Whigs  that  good  cheer 
abounded  in  the  camp  among  the  friends  of  King  George. 
In  a  moment  all  this  was  suddenly  changed — the  sentinels 
hailed^then  they  fired,  when  an  unseen  foe  rushed  on 
through  the  woods,  yelling  and  screaming  at  the  top  of 
their  voices — and  bang  !  bang  !  belched  forth  their  rifles  in 
quick  succession.  The  poor  Tories  were  taken  completely 
by  surprise — a  panic  ensued  ;  and  crying  "mercy  !  mercy  I  " 
they  dashed  through  the  bushes  down  the  hill  at  their  very 
best  speed.  A  frightened  Tory  was  proverbially  famous  in 
siich  a  race. 

3C2  KING '  S  MO  UN  TAIN 

The  victorious  Whigs  came  into  the  camp  one  after 
another,  and  peered  into  the  darkness,  but  could  only  hear 
the  retreating  foragers  darting  through  the  woods  ;  the  noise 
growing  fainter  at  each  successive  moment ;  while  the 
skedaddlers,  poor  souls,  were  congratulating  themselves  on 
their  fortunate  escape  from  a  formidable  party  of  Rebels,  led 
on,  it  might  be,  by  the  untiring  Sumter,  or  such  a  Tory-hater 
as  Tom  Brandon,  of  Fair  Forest.  The  Whigs  had  now 
gained  full  possession  of  the  camp,  with  none  to  dispute 
their  victory.  Forage  wagons  were  standing  hither  and 
thither,  horses  hitched  to  them  and  to  the  surrounding  trees, 
guns  stacked,  cooking  utensils  lying  about  the  fires,  with 
hats,  caps,  and  articles  of  clothing  scattered  in  wild 

Till  the  grey  twilight  streaked  the  eastern  sky  on  the 
following  morning,  the  little  patriot  band  kept  close  guard, 
expecting  the  momentary  return  of  the  campers ;  but 
nothing  of  the  kind  transpired.  The  sun  rose  brightly,  and 
mounted  high  above  the  hills,  and  still  no  report  from  the 
fugitives.  What  should  be  done  with  the  horses,  arms, 
baggage  and  baggage-wagons,  was  now  discussed  by  the 
fearless  captors.  They  transported  them  from  the  camp, 
around  the  hill  to  a  secluded  spot,  and  maintained  a  strict 
watch  over  their  new  quarters,  and  the  property  they  had 
so  adroitly  captured.  It  must  have  been  the  day  succeed- 
ing Ferguson's  defeat,  that  one  of  the  men  on  guard 
discovered  a  party  of  a  dozen  or  fifteen  horsemen  rapidly 
approaching.  It  was  thought  to  be  the  van  of  an  army^ 
perhaps  Ferguson's — coming  to  recover  the  spoils ;  but  the 
brave  Whigs  who  had  made  the  successful  capture,  and 
had  guarded  the  plunder  with  so  much  vigilance,  resolved 
to  test  the  matter. 

They  boldly  advanced  in  a  body,  hailed  the  vanguard, 
while  their  horses  were  drinking  at  the  creek.  But  the 
horsemen  responded  only  by  a  confused  flight ;  and  upon 
them    the    patriots    discharged  their  rifles,  which  disabled 


one  of  their  horses,  so  that  his  rider  surrendered  in  dismay. 
From  him  the  Whigs  learned  that  liis  party  was  just  from 
King's  Mountain — probabl}^  the  band  who  had  returned 
from  a  foray,  and  fired  upon  the  mountaineers  at  the  close  of 
the  action,  mortally  wounding  Colonel  Williams — and  were 
now  making  the  best  of  their  way  to  their  respective  homes, 
or  to  Ninety  Six,  having  in  ^-iew  no  other  object  than  their 
personal  safety.  Learning  of  Ferguson's  total  defeat,  the 
Whig  heroes  now  ventured  to  leave  their  secluded  camp, 
and  gather  a  party  to  convey  away  the  spoils  of  war  to  a 
place  of  safety,  where  they  and  their  friends  could  divide 
and  enjoy  them.  * 

Lord  Cornwallis'  fine  schemes  of  North  Carolina  and 
Virginia  conquest,  were  destined  to  a  speedy  disappoint- 
ment. Awaiting  at  Charlotte,  for  the  reception  of  supplies, 
and  the  return  of  the  healthful  season,  to  prosecute  his 
military  enterprise,  he  had  reluctantly  yielded  to  the  per- 
suasions of  Colonel  Ferguson  to  make  an  excursion  into  the 
western  borders  of  North  Carolina,  to  encourage  the  friends 
of  the  Government  in  that  quarter.  Though  Ferguson 
gave  Cornwallis  the  assurance  that  his  trained  militia  could 
be  trusted,  j^et  his  Lordship  had  serious  doubts  on  that  head, 
declaring  that  Ferguson's  "  own  experience,  as  well  as  that 
of  every  other  officer,  was  totally  against  him  ;"  but,  in  con- 
sequence of  Ferguson's  entreaties,  backed  with  the  earnest 
advice  of  Colonel  Tarleton,  the  expedition  was  undertaken, 
Ferguson  promising  to  return  should  he  hear  of  any  superior 
force  approaching  him. 

Cornwallis,  failing  for  some  time  to  receive  any  definite 
information  from  Ferguson,  evidently  commenced  to  feel 
anxious  concerning  his  situation.  In  the  Virginia  Gazette, 
of  October  eleventh,  1780,  we  find  among  the  latest  items  of 
intelligence  from  the  southward,  one  to  the  efiect  that  "  on 
the  thirtieth  of  September,  about  eight  hundred  of  the  enemy, 
with  two  field  pieces,  were  on  their  march,  three  miles  in 

*Saye's  Memoir  of  Mcjunkin, 


advance  from  Charlotte,  on  the  road  leading  to  Beattie's 
Ford,  on  Catawba  river,  supposed  to  be  intended  to  support 
Major  Ferguson,  who  was,  with  a  party,  in  the  neighbor- 
hood of  Burke  Court  House." 

If  a  relief  force  was  sent  at  all,  it  was  not  pushed  far 
enough  forward  to  accomplish  the  purpose.  Tarleton's  ill- 
ness of  a  fever — yellow  fever,  as  Major  Hanger  terms  it — 
may  have  caused  procrastination.  "  Tarleton  is  better," 
wrote  Lord  Cornwallis  to  Ferguson  on  the  twenty-third  of 
September.  As  he  recovered,  he  was  pressed  to  engage  in 
this  service,  but  found  excuses  for  not  undertaking  it.  "  My 
not  sending  relief  to  Ferguson,"  observed  Lord  Cornwallis, 
"  although  he  was  positively  ordered  to  retire,  was  entirely 
owing  to  Tarleton  himself;  he  pleaded  weakness  from  the 
remains  of  a  fever,  and  refused  to  make  the  attempt, 
although  I  used  the  most  earnest  entreaties."  * 

Tarleton  informs  us,  that  the  County  of  Mecklenburg,  in 
which  Chai'lotte  was  situated,  and  the  adjoining  County  of 
Rowan,  were  more  hostile  to  England  than  any  other  por- 
tion of  America  ;  that  so  vigilant  were  the  Whig  troops  and 
people  of  that  region,  that  "  very  few,  out  of  a  great  number 
of  messengers,  could  reach  Charlotte,  in  the  beginning  of 
October,  to  give  intelligence  of  Ferguson's  situation."  At 
length  Cornwallis  received  confused  reports  of  Ferguson's 
miscarriage.  He  dispatched  Tarleton  on  the  tenth  of  that 
month,  with  his  Light  Infantry,  the  British  Legion,  and  a 
three-pounder,  to  go  to  the  assistance  of  Ferguson,  as  no 
certain  intelligence  had  arrived  of  his  defeat :  though  it 
was  rumored,  with  much  confidence,  by  the  Americans  in 
the  neighborhood  of  Charlotte.  Tarleton's  instructions 
were  to  re-inforce  Ferguson  wherever  he  could  find  him, 
and  to  draw  his  corps  to  the  Catawba,  if,  after  the  junction, 
advantage  could  not  be  obtained  over  the  mountaineers  ;  or, 
upon  the  certainty  of  his  defeat,  at  all  events  to  oppose  the 
entrance  of  the  victorious  Americans  into  South  Carolina — 

*  Cornwallis'  Correspondence^  i,  59. 


fearing  they  might  seriously  threaten  Ninety  Six  and 

The  effect  of  King's  Mountain  battle  on  the  Tories  of 
the  country,  and  on  Lord  Cornwallis  and  his  officers  at 
Charlotte,  may  be  best  inferred  from  actual  facts  explana- 
tory of  the  matter.  Robert  Henry,  who  had  been  so  pain- 
fully transfixed  in  a  British  charge  on  Chronicle's  men,  was 
conveyed  to  his  home  on  the  South  Fork,  a  few  miles  of 
the  way  on  Saturday  evening  after  the  battle,  and  the 
remainder  on  Sunday,  Hugh  Ewin  and  Andrew  Barry,  two 
of  his  brave  companions,  acting  as  his  escort.  On  Monday 
morning  these  two  friends  came  to  see  him,  and  learned  the 
happy  effects  of-  a  poultice  of  wet,  warm  ashes,  applied  to 
his  wounds  by  his  good  mother.  While  there,  several 
neutrals,  as  they  termed  themselves,  but  really  Tories  in 
disguise,  called  to  learn  the  news  of  the  battle,  when  the 
following  dialogue  took  place  between  them  and  Ewin  and 
Barry  : 

"  Is  it  certain,"  inquired  one  of  the  Tories,  "that  Colonel 
Ferguson  is  really  killed,  and  his  army  defeated  and  taken 

"  Yes,  it  is  certain,"  replied  the  Whigs,  "for  we  saw 
Ferguson  after  he  was  dead,  and  his  army  prisoners  of 

"  How  many  men  had  Ferguson?" 

"  Nearly,  but  not  quite,  twelve  hundred,"  was  the  reply. 

"Where,"  asked  the  Tories,  "did  the  Whigs  get  men 
enough  to  defeat  him?" 

"They  had,"  responded  the  patriots,  "the  South  Carolina 
and  Georgia  refugees.  Colonel  Graham's  Lincoln  County 
men,  some  from  Virginia,  some  from  the  head  of  the  Yad- 
kin, some  from  the  head  of  the  Catawba,  some  from  over 
the  mountains,  and  some  pretty  much  from  everywhere." 

"  Tell  us,"  eagerly  inquired  the  neutrals,  "how  it  hap- 
pened, and  all  about  it." 

*  Tarleton's  Campaigns,  pp.  i6o,  i6i,  165. 

366  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

"Well,"  said  Evvin  and  Bariy,  "we  met  near  Gilbert 
Town,  and  found  that  the  foot  troops  could  not  ovei'take  Fer- 
guson, and  we  took  between  six  and  seven  hundred  horse- 
men, leaving  as  many  or  more  footmen  to  follow;  and  we 
overtook  Ferguson  at  King's  Mountain,  where  we  sur- 
rounded and  defeated  him."' 

"Ah!"  said  one  of  the  Tories,  "that  will  not  do — 
between  six  and  seven  hundred  surrounding  nearly  twelve 
hundred.  It  would  have  taken  more  than  two  thousand  to 
surround  and  take  Colonel  Ferguson." 

"  But,"  responded  the  Whigs,  "we  were  all  of  us  blue 
hens'  chickens — real  fighters,  and  no  mistake." 

"There  must  have  been,"  said  the  Tories,  "of  your 
foot  and  horse  over  four  thousand  in  all.  We  see  what  you 
are  about — that  your  aim  is  to  catch  Lord  Cornwallis 

Thus  ended  the  dialogue,  not  more  than  two  hours  after 
sunrise  on  Monday,  the  ninth  of  October  ;  and  the  neutrals 
or  Tories  quickly  took  their  departure.  It  was  reported 
that  they  immediately  swam  a  horse  across  the  swollen 
Catawba,  by  the  side  of  a  canoe,  and  hastened  to  give  Lord 
Cornwallis  the  earliest  news  of  Ferguson's  defeat. 

As  soon  as  the  intelligence  reached  Charlotte,  it  produced 
a  great  excitement  among  all  classes. 

"Have  you  heard  the  news,"  inquired  one  officer,  of 
the  guard? 

"  No,  what  news  ?  " 

"  Whjr,"  said  the  first,  "  Colonel  Ferguson  is  killed,  and 
his  whole  army  defeated  and  taken  prisoners." 

"  How  can  that  be,"  said  the  doubter — "  where  did  the 
men  come  from  to  accomplish  such  a  feat?" 

"Some  of  them,"  replied  the  man  of  news,  "were 
South  Carolina  and  Georgia  refugees,  some  from  Virginia, 
some  from  the  heads  of  the  Yadkin  and  Catawba,  some  from 
over  the  mountains,  and  some  from  everywhere.  They 
met  at  or  near  Gilbert  Town,  about  two  thousand  despera- 


does  on  horseback,  calling  themselve  blue  hens'  chickens  ; 
and  started  in  pursuit  of  Ferguson,  leaving  as  many  foot- 
men to  follow.  They  overtook  Ferguson  at  a  place  called 
King's  Mountain,  where  they  surrounded  his  army,  killed 
that  gallant  officer,  defeated  his  men,  and  took  the  survivors 

"  Can  this  be  true?"  despondingly  inquired  the  first 

"As  true  as  the  gospel,"  replied  the  other;  "and  we 
may  look  out  for  breakers." 

"  God  bless  us  !  "  ejaculated  the  dejected  officer  of  the 

David  Knox,  a  kinsman  of  President  Polk,  who  was  a 
prisoner,  but  enjoyed  the  privilege  of  the  town,  a  man  full 
of  fun  and  frolic,  hearing  this  colloquy,  jumped  upon  a  pile 
of  fire-wood  beside  the  street,  slapped  his  hands  and  thighs, 
and  crowed  like  a  rooster,  exclaiming.  Day  is  at  hand!  * 

It  was  accounts  like  these,  largely  colored  and  exagger- 
ated by  the  fear-stricken  Tories,  that  reached  Cornwallis' 
ears,  and  so  alarmed  him  that  he  sent  out  Tarleton  to  aid 
Ferguson,  if  yet  in  a  condition  to  be  relieved,  and  finally 
induced  his  Lordship  to  depart  in  hot  haste  from  Charlotte, 
with  all  his  army.  Tarleton  proceeded  a  south-westerly 
course,  fifteen  or  twenty  miles,  to  Smith's  Ford,  below  the 
Forks  of  the  Catawba,  where  he  received  certain  intelli- 
gence of  the  melancholy  fate  of  Ferguson,  and  crossed  the 
river  "to  give  protection"  as  he  says,  "to  the  fugitives," — 
a  small  number  of  whom,  he  adds,  his  light  troops  picked 
up,  all  of  which  must  have  been  the  result  of  his  vivid 

At  length,  while  Tarleton  was  absent,  Cornwallis  re- 
ceived definite  information  of  Ferguson's  downfall ;  and 
Tarleton  gives  a  sombre  picture  of  the  unhappy  influence 
it  exerted  upon   both    the  British  and  Tories.     "Added," 

*MS.  narrative  of  Robert  Henry,  who  heard  the  dialogue  between  the  neutrals  and 
Ewin  and  Barry,  and  had  the  particulars  of  the  interview  of  the  British  officers,  from  David 
Knox  himself. 

368  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

he  says,  "  to  the  depression  and  fear  it  communicated  to  the 
Loyahsts  upon  the  borders,  and  to  the  southward,  the  effect 
of  such  an  important  event  was  sensibly  felt  by  Lord 
Cornwallis  at  Charlotte  Town.  The  weakness  of  his  army, 
the  extent  and  poverty  of  North  Carolina,  the  want  of 
knowledge  of  his  enemy's  designs,  and  the  total  ruin  of  his 
militia,  presented  a  gloomy  prospect  at  the  commencement 
of  the  campaign.  A  farther  progress  by  the  route  which 
he  had  undertaken,  could  not  possibly  remove,  but  would 
undoubtedly  increase  his  difficulties  ;  he,  therefore,  formed 
a  sudden  determination  to  quit  Charlotte  Town,  and  pass 
the  Catawba  river.  The  army  was  ordered  to  move,  and 
expresses  were  dispatched  to  recall  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Tarleton."  * 

About  sunset,  on  the  evening  of  the  fourteenth  of  Octo- 
ber, the  British  ■axray  took  up  its  line  of  march  towards 
the  Old  Nation  Ford  on  the  Catawba.  They  had  for  a 
guide  William  McCafTerty,  an  Irishman,  who  had  for 
several  years  been  a  merchant  at  Charlotte ;  remaining 
there  when  the  enemy  came,  endeavoring  to  save  his 
property ;  but  whatever  were  his  professions  to  the  British, 
he  played  his  new  friends  a  sharp  trick — a  shabby  one,  no 
doubt,  in  their  estimation.  About  two  miles  below  Char- 
lotte, he  led  them  on  a  wrong  road  towards  Park's,  since 
Barnett's  mill ;  he  at  length  suggested  that  they  must ,  be 
out  of  the  way,  and  he  would  ride  a  little  to  the  left  to  get 
righted ;  but  as  soon  as  out  of  their  sight,  he  left  them  to 
their  fate.  They  were  two  miles  to  the  right  of  the  road  they 
intended  to  have  taken — the  night  was  dark,  and,  being 
near  Cedar  creek,  they  were  intercepted  by  high  hills  and 
deep  ravines.  Endeavoring  to  file  to  the  left,  to  regain  the 
right  road,  they  became  separated  into  different  parties, 
and  kept  up  a  hallooing  to  learn  which  way  their  comrades 
had  gone.  By  midnight  they  were  three  or  four  miles 
apart,  and  appeared  to  be  panic-struck,  lest  the  Americans 

'■'Tarleton's  Campaigns,  i66. 


— the  dreaded  mountaineers — should  come  upon  them  in 
their  pitiful  situation.  Thej'  did  not  get  together  until  noon 
the  next  da}',  about  seven  miles  from  Charlotte.  Owing  to 
the  difficult  passes  they  took,  and  the  darkness  of  the 
night,  together  with  the  scare  that  befell  them,  the  rear 
guard  left  behind  them  near  twent)'  wagons,  says  Tarleton 
— forty,  saj-s  General  Graham — and  considerable  boot}-, 
including  a  printing  press  and  other  stores,  together  with  the 
baggage  of  Tarleton's  Legion.* 

Reaching  the  Old  Nation  Ford,  the  river  was  too  high 
to  cross  with  safety.  In  consequence  of  a  dangerous  fever, 
which  suddenly  attacked  Lord  Cornwallis,  as  the  result  of 
heavy  rains  and  severe  exposures,  and  the  want  of  forage 
and  provisions,  the  army  remained  two  days  in  an  anxious 
and  miserable  situation  in  the  Catawba  Indian  settlement, 
until  his  physicians  declared  that  his  Lordship's  condition 
would  endure  the  motion  of  a  wagon.  Meanwhile,  the 
treacherous  pilot,  JNIcCafferty,  had  hastened  to  the  Whig 
Colonel  Davie's  encampment,  reaching  there  early  in 
the  morning,  and  communicating  the  tidings  of  the 
enemy's  retreat.  Davie,  with  his  small  squadron  of 
cavalry,  hung  upon  their  rear  and  flanks,  but  could 
gain  no  advantage  over  them.  Crossing  the  Catawba 
near  Twelve  Mile  creek,  the  army  at  length  reached 
Winnsboro,  a  distance  of  some  seventy  miles,  on  the 
twenty-ninth  of  the  month,  after  a  two  weeks'  march; 
encountering  sickness,  difficulties,  and  privations  of  the 
most  serious  character. 

Major  Hanger  relates,  that  he  and  five  other  officers  had 
the  j'ellow  fever,  as  he  terms  it,  and  were  placed  in  wagons 
when  the  army  evacuated  Charlotte ;  that,  in  passing 
swollen  streams,  the  straw  on  which  they  lay  in  the 
vehicles  frequently  became  wet,  which  aggravated  their 
sickness,   and   all,  save  himself  only,   died   of  fatigue   and 

"i-  General    Graham's   Revolutionary    History   0/  Nortit    Carolina,    in  North    Carolina 
University  Magazine,  April,  1856,  pp.  101-2 ;  Tarleton's  Campaigns,  167 

370  KING '  S  MO  UNTAIN 

exposure  during  the  first  week  of  the  march,  and  were 
buried  in  tlie  woods,  while  the  jaded  troops  were  moving 
forward  as  rapidly  as  possible.  So  low  was  Major  Hanger 
reduced,  that  his  bones  protruded  through  his  skin,  and  his 
life  was  onl}-  saved  by  the  use  of  opium  and  port  wine.* 

But  for  their  Tory  associates,  the  sufTerings  of  the  army, 
great  as  they  were,  would  have  been  still  more  aggravated. 
For  several  days  in  succession  it  rained  without  inter- 
mission ;  the  soldiers  had  no  tents,  and  the  roads  were  over 
their  shoes  in  water  and  mud.  At  night  the  army  en- 
camped in  the  woods,  in  a  most  unhealthy  climate,  and  for 
many  days,  Stedman  adds,  they  were  entirely  without  rum. 
The  water  they  drank  was  frequently  as  thick  as  in  puddles 
by  the  road  side.  Sometimes  they  had  beef  and  no  bread ; 
at  other  times  bread,  or  corn,  and  no  beef.  For  five  days 
the  troops  were  supported  upon  Indian  corn  alone,  which 
was  gathered  as  it  stood  in  the  field,  five  ears  of  which 
were  the  allowance  for  two  soldiers  for  twenty-four  hours. 
The  Tory  militia  taught  the  regulars  how  best  to  adapt  it  for 
use.  Taking  their  tin  canteens,  they  would  cut  them  up,  and 
punch  holes  through  the  strips  with  their  bayonets,  and  then 
use  them  as  a  rasp,  or  grater,  on  which  to  grate  their  corn, 
and  prepare  it  for  cooking.  The  idea  was  communicated 
to  the  Adjutant-General,  and  afterwards  adopted  through- 
out the  army,  f 

By  their  acquaintance  with  the  country,  being  mounted 
on  horseback,  and  inured  to  the  climate,  the  Tory  militia 
would  go  forth  daily  inquest  of  provisions,  being  frequently 
obliged  to  pass  through  rivers,  creeks,  woods  and  swamps, 
to  secure  beef  cattle  for  the  support  of  the  army.  "With- 
out their  assistance,"  says  Stedman,  "  it  would  have  been 
impossible  to  have  supplied  the  troops  in  the  field." 
Some  of  these  men,  when  a  creek  was  reached,  difficult, 
from  its  steep  banks,  and  its  clayey,  slippery  soil,  to  cross, 

*  Li/e  of  Hanger,  ii,  pp.  408-11. 
I  Stedman's  ATnsrican  War,  ii,  224 


would  take  the  place  of  the  horses,  being  harnessed  in  their 
stead,  and  drag  the  wagons  through  the  stream.  Sted- 
man,  one  of  Cornwallis'  officers,  gives  us  some  inklings  of 
the  treatment  of  these  Tory  benefactors  of  their  army,  by 
the  British  officers:  "We  are  sorry  to  say,"  observes  this 
candid  historian,  "  that  in  return  for  these  exertions,  the 
militia  were  maltreated  by  abusive  language,  and  even  beaten 
by  some  officers  in  the  Quarter-Master  General's  depart- 
ment. In  consequence  of  this  ill  usage,  several  of  them 
left  the  army  the  next  morning  forever,  choosing  to  run 
the  risk  of  meeting  the  resentment  of  their  enemies,  rather 
than  submit  to  the  derision  and  abuse  of  those  to  whom  they 
looked  up  as  friends.* 

Cornwallis,  with  his  army,  was  now  at  Winnsboro, 
nearly  midway  between  Camden  and  Ninety  Six,  and 
within  supporting  distance  of  either.  According  to  Lord 
Rawdon,  the  second  in  command,  it  is  evident  that  the 
British  leaders  were  happy,  after  all  their  toils  and  sufferings, 
to  find  that  "Ninety  Six  was  safe"! — that  the  much- 
dreaded  mountaineers  had  fortunately  turned  their  faces 
northwardly,  instead  of  towards  the  fortress  where  Cruger 
commanded,  and  which  they  might  easily  have  reached 
long  before  it  could  possibly  have  been  relieved  by  the 
storm,  mud,  and  sick-bound  army  en  route  from  Charlotte  to 

Through  the  Tories,  doubtless.  Lord  Cornwallis  learned 
in  time  of  the  executions  by  the  mountaineers  of  the  Loyal- 
ists atBickerstaff's,  near  Gilbert  Town,  and  wrote  to  the 
American  commanders  threatening  retaliation.  General 
Gates,  in  transmitting  these  complaints  to  Congress, 
expressed  the  opinion  that  "  no  person  ought  to  be  executed, 
but  after  legal  conviction,  and  by  order  of  the  supreme  civil 
or  military  authority,  in  the  department  where  the  offence 
is  committed ;  but  I  must  confess  my  astonishment  at  Lord 

*  Stedman,  ii,  225. 

f  Cornwallis'   Correspondence,  i,  496. 


Cornwallis'  finding  fault  with  a  cruelt}'  he  and  his  officers 
are  constantly  practising — this  is  crying  rogue  first." 

Commenting  on  this  passage,  Henr}^  S.  Randall  pertin- 
ently observes:  "Supreme  civil  or  military  authority "  was 
not  much  better  than  a  name,  in  the  locality  and  exigency  ; 
and  was  quite  as  well  represented,  in  our  judgment,  as  it 
could  elsewhere  have  been,  in  the  intelligent  and  respon- 
sible gentlemen — for  emphatically  they  were  such — who, 
by  their  own  danger  and  exertions,  had  done  what  no 
formally  constituted  "  authority"  was  able  to  do;  and,  if 
the  victors  of  King's  Mountain  hung  fewer  men  than  the 
documents  found  on  British  officers  clearl}'  proved  had 
been  executed  of  Americans  by  their  orders,  they  enforced 
less,  we  believe,  than  the  full  measure  of  rightful  and 
proper  retaliation.  And  there  is  not  a  doubt  that  the  prac- 
tical effect  of  the  measure  was  good,  not  only  on  the  British 
Lieutenant-General,  but  on  the  parricides  who  were  so  keen 
to  scent  out,  among  their  countrymen,  the  breakers  of 
enforced  and  v/ithdrawn  paroles.  The  hunt  became  less 
intently  amusing,  when  it  was  understood  that  the  hunter 
placed  the  noose  that  had  strangled  his  victim,  around  his 
own  neck,  in  the  event  of  his  capture.  * 

The  threatened  retaliation  by  Cornwallis,  addressed  in 
the  first  instance  to  General  Smallwood,  and  then  to  Gen- 
eral Gates,  was  left  as  a  legacy  for  General  Greene,  on  his 
succeeding  Gates  in  the  command  of  the  Southern  depart- 
ment ;  and  he  met  it  in  a  calm  and  dignified  manner.  "  I 
am,"  he  wrote  to  his  Lordship,  "  too  much  a  stranger  to  the 
transactions  at  Gilbert  Town  to  reply  fully  to  that  subject. 
They  must  have  been  committed  before  my  arrival  in  the 
department,  and  bj'  persons  under  the  character  of  volun- 
teers, who  were  independent  of  the  army.  However,  if 
there  was  anything  done  in  that  affair  contrary  to  the  prin- 
ciples of  humanity  and  the  law  of  nations,  and  for  which 
they  had  not  the  conduct  of  your  army  as  a  precedent,  I 
shall  be  ever  ready  to  testify  my  disapprobation  of  it.     The 

*  Life  o/  Jefferson^  i,  282. 

AiYD  ITS  HEROES.  373 

first  example  was  furnished  on  your  part,  as  appears  by  the 
list  of  unhappy  sufferers  enclosed  ;  and  it  might  have  been 
expected,  that  the  friends  of  the  unfortunate  should  follow 
it.  Punishing  capitally  for  a  breach  of  military  parole,  is 
a  severity  that  the  principles  of  modern  war  will  not  author- 
ize, unless  the  inhabitants  are  to  be  treated  as  a  conquered 
people,  and  subject  to  all  the  rigor  of  military  government. 
The  feelings  of  mankind  will  forever  decide,  when  the 
rights  of  humanity  are  invaded.  I  leave  them  to  judge  of 
the  tendency  of  your  Lordship's  order  to  Lieutenant-Col- 
onel Balfour  after  the  action  near  Camden,  of  Lord 
Rawden's  proclamation,  and  of  Tarleton's  laying  waste  the 
country,  and  distressing  the  inhabitants,  who  were  taught 
to  expect  pi-otection  and  security,  if  they  observed  but  a 
neutrality.  Sending  the  inhabitants  of  Charleston  to  St. 
Augustine,  contrary  to  the  articles  of  capitulation,  is  a 
violation  which  I  have  also  to  represent,  and  which  I  hope 
3^our  Lordship  will  think  3^ourself  bound  to  I'edress." 

The  enclosed  list  referred  to  was  this  :  "  William  Stroud 
and  Mr.  Dowell,  executed  near  Rocky  Mount,  without  a 
trial,  by  order  of  Lieutent-Colonel  Turnbull ;  Richard 
Tucker,  Samuel  Andrews,  and  John  Miles,  hanged  at 
Camden  by  order  of  Lord  Cornwallis  ;  Mr.  Johnson,  hanged 
since  the  action  of  Blackstocks,  by  Lieutenant-Colonel 
Tarleton ;  about  thirty  persons  hanged  at  Augusta  by 
Colonel  Browne  ;  Adam  Cusick  hanged  at  Pedee  by  one 
Colonel  Mills."* 

'•'Gordon's  Avierican  IVar,  iv.  pp.  28-29. 

The  Colonel  Mills  here  referred  to,  must  not  be  confounded  with  Colonel  Ambrose 
Mills,  uf  King's  Mountain  memory,  one  of  the  unfortunates  executed  at  Bickerstaff's. 
William  Henry  Mills,  mentioned  by  General  Greejie.  belonged  in  the  Cheraw  region,  and 
served  in  the  South  Carolina  Provincial  Congress,  early  in  the  contest;  but  sub'-equently 
joined  the  British,  and  was  made  a  Colonel,  Surviving  the  war,  he  retired  to  Jamaica,  and 
then  to  England,  where  he  died  in  1807. 

But  from  Judge  James'  Life  0/  Marion,  and  Gregg's  History  of  the  CheTaws.  it  is  very 
questionable  if  Colonel  Mills  was  responsible  for  the  execution  of  Cusack.  Those  well- 
iiiformed  writers  clearly  charge  that  act  upon  Colonel  Wemyss.  Cusack  accused. 
according  to  one  account,  of  no  other  crime  than  refusing  to  transport  some  British  officers 
over  a  ferry,  and  shooting  at  them  across  the  river ;  while  another  statement  has  it,  that  he 
shot  at  the  black  servant  of  a  Tory  officer,  John  Brockington,  whom  he  knew,  across  Black 
crfeek.  Taken  prisoner  by  the  enemy,  he  was  tried,  and  condemned  on  the  evidence  of 
the  negro. 


Here  happily  ended  the  threatened  retaHation  on  the 
part  of  Lord  Cornwalhs  for  the  execution  of  the  LoyaUst 
leaders  taken  at  King's  Mountain.  It  was  well  that  his 
Lordship  refrained  from  exercising  a  power  that  could  only 
have  fanned  the  flames  of  desolation  throughout  the  south- 
ern  borders.  The  inhumanities  practiced  on  both  sides  m 
that  distracted  quarter  were  already  but  too  deplorable  in 
their  character,  and  needed  not  fresh  provocations  to  inten- 
sif}"  their  brutality,  or  add  to  the  frequency  of  their 
occurrence.  It  was  generally  said,  and  beheved,  that  in 
the  district  of  Ninety  Six  alone,  fourteen  hundred  unhappy 
widows  and  orphans  were  left  to  bemoan  the  fate  of  their 
unfortunate  fathers,  husbands  and  brothers,  killed  and  mur- 
dered during  the  course  of  the  war.  * 

Good  words  for  the  victory  and  victors  of  King's  Moun- 
tain have  not  been  wandng.  General  Gates  returned  thanks, 
through  Colonel  Campbell  and  his  associates,  "  to  the  brave 
officers  and  soldiers  under  your  command,  for  your  and 
their  glorious  behavior  in  the  action  ;  the  records  of  the 
war  will  transmit  your  names  and  theirs  to  posterity,  with 
the  highest  honors  and  applause;"  and  he  desired  to 
express  the  sense  he  entertained  of  "  the  great  service  they 
had  done  their  country."  General  Washington  proclaimed 
the  result  in  General  Orders  to  the  army,  as  "an  import- 
ant object  gained,"  and  '^  a  proof  of  the  spirit  and  resources 
of  the  countr}? ;  "  while  Congress  expressed  in  its  resolves, 
"  a  high  sense  of  the  spirited  and  military  conduct  of 
Colonel  Campbell,  and  the  officers  and  privates  of  the 
militia  under  his  command,  displayed  in  the  action  of 
October  seventh,  in  which  a  complete  victory  was  obtained." 
This  marked  success  over  Ferguson,  and  the  heroic  conduct 
of  the  riflemen  at  Guilford,  convinced  General  Greene,  that 
"the  militia  of  the  back  country  are  formidable."  "  Camp- 
befi's  glorious  success  at  King's  Mountain,"  was  the  terse 
encomium    of    Lieutenant-Colonel    Lee,    of    the    Legion 

"'Moultrie's  yJ/(?OT(J2Vj,  ii,  242. 


Cavalry.  "  It  was  a  sharp  action,"  said  Chief  Justice 
Marshall,  gained  by  "the  victorious  mountaineers." 

"  No  battle,"  says  Lossing,  "  during  the  war,  was  more 
obstinately  contested  than  this ;  it  completely  crushed  the 
spirits  of  the  Loyalists,  and  weakened,  beyond  recovery, 
the  royal  power  in  the  Carolinas."  *  "The  victory  at 
King's  Mountain,"  observes  Bancroft,  "  which  in  the  spirit 
of  the  American  soldiers  was  like  the  rising  at  Concord,  in 
its  effects  like  the  success  at  Bennington,  changed  the 
aspects  of  the  war.  The  Loyalists  of  North  Carolina  no 
longer  dared  rise.-  It  fired  the  patriots  of  the  two  Caro- 
linas with  fresh  zeal.  It  encouraged  the  fragments  of  the 
defeated  and  scattered  American  army  to  seek  each  other, 
and  organize  themselves  anew.  It  quickened  the  North 
Carolina  Legislature  to  earnest  efforts.  It  encouraged 
Virginia  to  devote  her  resources  to  the  country  south  of  her 
border.  The  appearance  on  the  frontiers  of  a  numerous 
enemy  from  settlements  beyond  the  mountains,  whose  very 
names  had  been  unknown  to  the  British,  took  Cornwallis 
by  surprise,  and  their  success  was  fatal  to  his  intended 
expedition.  He  had  hoped  to  step  with  ease  from  one 
Carolina  to  the  other,  and  from  those  to  the  conquest  of 
Virginia  ;  and  he  had  now  no  choice  but  to  retreat."  f 

When  all  the  circumstances,  continues  the  same  distin- 
guished historian,  are  considered,  the  hardihood  of  the 
conception,  the  brilliancy  of  the  execution,  and  the 
important  train  of  consequences  resulting  from  it,  there 
was  nothing  in  the  North  more  so.  except  the  surrender 
at  Saratoga.  It  is  not  to  be  imagined,  that  the  assemb- 
lage of  the  troops  was  an  accidental  and  tumultuous 
congregation  of  men,  merely  seeking  wild  adventures. 
On  the  contrary,  although  each  step  in  the  progress  of  the 
enterprise  seemed  to  be  characterized  by  a  daring  impulse, 
yet  the  purpose  had  been  coolly  conceived,  and  its  execution 

"Field  Book  of  the  Revolution,  ii,  pp.  428-29. 
t  History  0/  the  United  states,  x,  340, 


deliberately  planned  in  a  temper  of  not  less  wisdom  than 
hardihood.  * 

Irving  declares,  that  "the  battle  of  King's  Mountain, 
inconsiderable  as  it  was  in  the  numbers  engaged,  turned 
the  tide  of  Southern  warfare.  The  destruction  of  Ferguson 
and  his  corps  gave  a  complete  check  to  the  expedition  of 
Cornwallis.  He  began  to  fear  for  the  safety  of  South  Caro- 
lina, liable  to  such  sudden  irruptions  from  the  mountains  ; 
lest,  while  he  was  facing  to  the  north,  these  hordes  of 
stark-riding  warriors  might  throw  themselves  behind  him, 
and  produce  a  popular  combustion  in  the  Province  he  had 
left.  He  resolved,  therefore,  to  return  with  all  speed  to 
that  Province,  and  provide  for  its  security."  * 

Lord  Cornwallis  fully  recognized  the  extent  of  the  great 
disaster.  Plis  sudden  retreat  into  South  Carolina  showed 
it.  Ferguson,  he  said,  "  had  taken  infinite  pains  with 
some  of  the  militia  of  Ninety  Six,"  and  had  confidence  that 
the}'  would  fight  well,  which  his  Lordship  doubted  ;  and 
yet  Cornwallis  suffered  him  to  go  on  a  distant  service, 
without  any  regulars,  artillery,  or  cavalry  for  his  support, 
and  the  result  was,  as  his  Lordship  acknowledges,  that 
Ferguson  was  "totally  defeated  at  King's  Mountain." 
The  discouraging  effect  of  that  crushing  disaster  on  the 
Tories,  may  well  be  judged  from  Cornwallis'  dispatch  to 
Sir  Henr}^  Clinton:  "The  militia  of  Ninety  six,"  he 
observes,  "  on  which  alone  we  could  place  the  smallest 
dependence,  was  so  totally  disheartened  by  the  defeat  of 
Ferguson,  that  of  that  whole  district  we  could  with  diffi- 
culty assemble  one  hundred  ;  and  even  those,  I  am  con- 
vinced, would  not  have  made  the  smallest  resistance  if  they 
had  been  attacked."  "The  defeat  of  Major  Ferguson," 
wrote  Lord  Rawdon,  "had  so  dispirited  this  part  of  the 
countrjr,  and  indeed  the  Loyal  subjects  were  so  wearied  by 
the    long    continuance  of  the   campaign,  that    Lieutenant- 

*  MS.  statement  of  Hon.  George  Bancroft,  preserved  by  General  Preston. 
•[-Irving's    ll'iis/ii/i^tofz,  \\,  pp.  193-94. 


Colonel  Cruger,  commanding  at  Ninety  Six,  sent  informa- 
tion to  Lord  Cornwallis,  that  the  whole  district  had  deter- 
mined to  submit  as  soon  as  the  Rebels  should  enter  it;" 
and,  a  Httle  later,  Lord  Cornwallis  wrote:  "The  constant 
incursions  of  refugees,  North  Carolinians,  Back  Mountain 
nien,  and  the  perpetual  risings  in  different  parts  of  this 
Province,  the  invariable  successes  of  all  those  parties  against 
our  militia,  keep  the 'whole  country  in  continual  alarm,  and 
render  the  assistance  of  regular  troops  everj'vvhere  neces- 
sary. "  * 

Sir  Henry  Clinton,  the  British  Commander-in-chief  in 
America,  blamed  Lord  Cornwallis  for  detaching  Ferguson 
without  any  support  of  regular  troops,  when  his  Lordship 
had  previously  stated,  that  Ferguson's  hopes  of  success  on 
his  Tory  militia  "were  contrary  to  the  experience  of  the 
army,  as  well  as  of  Major  Ferguson  himself;  "  and  "  that 
his  Lordship,"  wrote  Sir  Henry,  "should,  after  this  opinion., 
not  onl}^  suffer  Colonel  Ferguson  to  be  detached  without 
support,  but  put  such  a  river  as  the  Catawba  between  him 
and  Ferguson,  was  a  matter  of  wonder  to  Sir  H.  Clinton 
and  all  who  knew  it."  f 

"Great  and  glorious  I"  was  the  exclamation  of  General 
Gates,  when  the  tidings  of  the  grand  triumph  of  the  King's 
Mountain  men  reached  him.  "  That  memorable  victory," 
declared  the  patriot  Jefferson,  "wasthe  joyful  annunciation  of 
that  turn  of  the  tide  of  success,  which  terminated  the  Revo- 
lutionary war  with  the  seal  of  independence."  And  richly 
did  the  heroes,  who  marched  under  Campbell's  banners, 
deserve  all  the  praise  so  generously  bestowed  upon  them. 
King's  Mountain  paved  the  wajr  for  the  successive  ad- 
vantages gained  by  the  American  arms  at  First  Dam  Ford, 
Blackstocks,  Cowpens,  Guilford,  and  Eutaw ;  and  ulti- 
mately for  the  crowning  victory  of  York  Town,  with  the 
glorious  fruition    of  "  INDEPENDENCE    FOREVER." 

*•  Cornwallis'  Correspondence,  i,  pp.  63,  80-Si,  4g7-c 
X  Clinton's  Observations  on  Stedinan. 



Gen.  "William  Campbell. 

His  Scotch-Irish  Ancestry. — His  Father  an  ^arly  Holston  Explorer. — 
William  Campbell's  Birth  and  Education, — Settles  oil  Holston. — A 
Captain  on  Dunmore's  Campaign. — Raised  a  Company  for  the  first 
Virginia  Regiment  in  ITJS- — Returns  for  the  Defence  of  the  Fron- 
tiers.— His  Military  Appointments. — Rencounter  with  and  Hanging 
of  the  Bandit  Hopkins.— Suppressing  Tories  tip  New  River. — 
King's  Mountain  Expedition — his  Bravery  Vindicated. — Public 
Thanks  for  his  Sen/ices — Marches  to  Long  Island  of  Holston. — ■ 
At  Whitzells  Mills  and  Guilford. — Resig?is  from  Ill-treatment. — 
Made  Brigadier -General. — Serves  under  LaFayette. — Death  and 
Character. — Notices  of  his  King's  Moiintain  Officers. 

The  Campbell  family,  from  which  the  hero  of  King's 
Mountain  descended,  were  originally  from  Inverary,  Argyll- 
shire, connected  with  the  famous  Campbell  clans  of  the 
Highlands  of  Scotland  ;  and  emigrated  to  Ireland  near  the 
close  of  the  reign  of  Qiieen  Elizabeth — about  the  year 
1600.  The  northern  portion  of  Ireland  received,  at  that 
period,  large  accessions  of  Scotch  Protestants,  who  proved 
valuable  and  useful  citizens.  Here  the  Campbells  continued 
to  live  for  several  generations,  until  at  length,  John  Camp- 
bell, with  a  family  of  ten  or  twelve  children,  removed  to 
America  in  1726,  and  settled  first  in  Donegal,  Lancaster 
County,  Pennsylvania,  where  we  find  one  of  his  sons,  Pat- 
rick Campbell,  born  in  1690,  serving  as  a  constable  in  1729. 
About  1730,  John  Campbell,  with  three  of  his  sons,  Patrick 
among  them,  removed  from  Pennsylvania  to  what  was  then 
a  part  of  Orange,  now  Augusta  County,  in  the  rich  valley 
of  Virginia.*  Another  authority  assigns  1738  as  the  time 
of  this  migration.! 

*MS.  statements  of  Gov.  David  Campbell  ;   Foote's  Sketches  of  Virginia,  second  series, 
pp.  114,  117  ;  Rupp's  History  of  Lancaster  County,  Pa.,  185  ;  IMombert's  Lancaster,  120. 
\  R.  A.  Brock,  Esq..  in  Richmond  Standard,  July  loth,  1880, 


Among  the  children  of  Patrick  Campbell,  who  thus  early 
settled  in  Western  Virginia,  was  Charles,  who  seems  to 
have  been  born  in  Ireland  before  the  removal  of  the  family 
to  the  New  World.  He  became  a  prominent  and  efficient 
pioneer  of  the  Augusta  Valley.  He  early  married  a  Miss 
Buchanan,  whose  father,  John  Buchanan,  Sr.,  had  figured 
in  the  wars  of  Scotland ;  and  from  this  union  sprang 
William  Campbell,  who  subsequently  led  the  Scotch-Irish 
patriots  of  the  Holston  Valle)'  against  Ferguson  at  King's 
Mountain.  He  was  born  in  Augusta  County  in  1745  ;  and, 
though  reared  on  that  remote  frontier,  and  amid  the  excite- 
ments and  dangers  of  the  French  and  Indian  war  of  1755- 
63,  yet  he  was  enabled,  as  an  only  son,  to  secure  the  best 
education  under  the  best  teachers  of  that  period — David 
Robinson,  a  fine  scholar,  having  been,  it  is  believed,  among 
his  instructors,  as  he  was  of  many  others  of  the  youth  of 
Augusta  of  that  day.  Young  Campbell  acquired  a  correct 
knowledge  of  the  English  language,  ancient  and  modern 
history,  and  several  branches  of  the  mathematics.* 

His  father,  Charles  Campbell,  was  not  only  an  entei'pris- 
ing  farmer  of  Augusta,  but  early  engaged  in  western 
exploration,  and  in  the  acquisition  of  the  rich  wild  lands 
of  the  country.  In  April,  1748,  he  made  an  exploring  tour 
down  the  Holston,  in  company  with  Doctor  Thomas 
Walker,  Colonel  James  Patton,  James  Wood,  and  John 
Buchanan,  together  with  a  number  of  hunters  and  wood- 
men. It  was  on  this  occasion  that  Campbell  located  a  fine 
t^act  on  the  North  Fork  of  Holston,  where  valuable  salt 
springs  were  afterward  discovered,  for  which  he  obtained  a 
patent  from  the  Governor  of  Virginia  in  1753.  It  proved  a 
great  benefit  alike  to  his  descendants  and  the  country.  In 
an  old  manuscript  written  apparently  in  1750,  it  is  stated 
that  "John  Buchanan  and  Charles  Campbell  do  not  go 
out  this  fall  " — indicating  a  contemplated  removal,  probably 

*Co\.  Arthur  Campbell's  MS.  Sketch  of  Gen.  William  Campbell;  Gov.  Campbell's  MS. 

380  KIXG  'S  MO  mYTAnV 

to  the  Holston  frontiers.  As  early  as  1742,  Charles  Camp- 
bell \vas  enrolled  as  a  militia-man  in  the  company  of  John 
Buchanan;  and,  in  1752,  he  was  chosen  a  Captain,  and 
doubtless  rendered  service  in  the  defence  of  the  Augusta 
Valle}'  during  the  long  period  of  Indian  irruptions  and 
disturbances  of  Braddock's  war.  In  the  latter  part  of  his 
life  he  became  intemperate,  and  cut  short  his  career,  dying 
early  in  1767.* 

At  his  father's  death,  William  Campbell,  then  a  3'oung 
man  of  about  twenty-two,  resolved  to  remove  with  his 
mother  and  four  young  sisters, f  to  the  frontiers  of  Flolston. 
They  migrated  there,  locating  on  a  fine  tract  called  Aspen- 
vale,  twent3'-one  miles  east  of  the  Wolf  Hills,  now  the 
pleasant  town  of  Abingdon,  and  one  mile  west  of  the 
Seven  Mile  Ford.  In  1773,  he  was  appointed  among  the 
earliest  Justices  of  Fincastle  County,  and,  in  1774,  a  Captain 
of  the  militia.  Although  an  only  son,  and  inheriting  a 
considerable  propert}-,  he  never  yielded  to  the  fashionable 
follies  of  young  men  of  fortune.  Devoted  to  the  opening 
and  culture  of  a  plantation  in  the  wilderness,  nothing 
occurred  to  interfere  with  the  routine  of  farm  life  till  the 
breaking  out  of  the  Indian  war  in  1774,  "'hen  he  raised  a 
company  of  young  men,  and  joining  Colonel  Christian's  regi- 
ment, pursued  rapidly  to  overtake  Colonel  Andrew  Lewis, 
who  had  preceded  them  to  Point  Pleasant,  at  the  mouth 
of  the  Kenhawa,  where  a  decisive  battle  was  fought,  beating 
back  the  Shawanoes  and  allied  tribes.  Colonel  Christian's 
re-inforcement,  though  they  made  a  forced  march,  did  not 
reach  the  battle-ground  dll  midnight  succeeding  the  engage- 
ment. The  next  morning  the  army  crossed  the  Ohio,  hasten- 
ing to  join  Lord  Dunmore,  with  another  division,  at  the  Pick- 

*MS.  records  of  Aiiausta  County,  Va.  ;  Winlerbotham's  -•);«<•?-!>«,  iii,  230;  Morse's 
Geography,  i^A  1797;  do  ,  ed.  1S05.  i,  6S8  ;  Scott's  Gcograpliical  Dictionary,  lioi;  Guthrie's 
Gco^ra /i/ii',  I R I ^  ii.  472;  MS  Diary  of  Dr.  Thomas  Walker,  which  alone  shows  the  correct 
date  of  Cti.irics  Campbell's  exploration  of  the  Holston  Valley. 

i-Thc  eldest,  Elizabeth,  married  John  Taylor;  Jane,  Thomas  Tate;  Margaret.  Col. 
Arthur  Campbell  ;  and  Ann,  Richard  Poston — ail  men  of  great  respectability,  leaving 
numerous  descendants. 


away  plains  on  the  Scioto,  where  liis  Lordship  concluded  a 
treaty  of  peace  with  the  defeated  and  humbled  Indian 
tribes.  Thus  was  Captain  Campbell,  with  all  his  zeal  to 
engage  in  active  service,  and  after  having  traveled  hun- 
dreds of  miles  through  the  wilderness  from  south-western 
Virginia  to  the  heart  of  the  Ohio  country,  compelled  to 
sheathe  his  sword,  and  return  again  to  his  peaceful  home  on 
the  Holston. 

The  aggressions  of  the  British  ministrj'  on  the  rights 
of  American  freemen  had  alread}-  made  a  deep  impression 
on  the  minds  of  the  frontier  people.  While  at  Fort  Gower, 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Hockhocking,  returning  from  the  Scioto 
expedition,  the  troops  declared,  on  the  fifth  of  November, 
1774 — Captain  Campbell,  no  doubt,  among  the  number — 
that,  "  as  the  love  of  Liberty,  and  attachment  to  the  real 
interests  and  just  rights  of  America  outweigh  every  other 
consideration,  we  resolve  that  we  will  exert  every  power  with- 
in us  for  the  defence  of  American  Liberty,  and  for  the  support 
of  her  just  rights  and  privileges."  And  on  the  twentieth  of 
January  ensuing,  Colonels  Preston  and  Christian,  Arthur  and 
William  Campbell,  together  with  William  Edmondson, 
Reverend  Charles  Cummings,  and  other  leaders  of  Fin- 
castle  County,  comprising  the  Holston  settlements,  sent  a 
calm  and  patriotic  address  to  the  Continental  Co